Tulsa World: Inhofe, Lucas seek to curb foreign involvement in food supply chain

Disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have stoked long-simmering concerns about foreign investment in U.S. agriculture and triggered action last week by U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and 3rd District Congressman Frank Lucas.

Inhofe and Lucas co-sponsored companion legislation that would increase oversight of such interests by adding the agriculture secretary to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, foreign interests own U.S. farmland equivalent in size to the state of Ohio. Beyond that, they own or control companies that make agricultural chemicals and process food products.

Oklahoma forbids most foreign ownership of agricultural land, but there is an exception for confined feeding operations and dairies. There is also an exception for forestry.

“This legislation works to ensure that foreign investment in our nation’s agricultural sector is given the appropriate amount of scrutiny needed to protect and maintain our national security,” Lucas said in a press release. “The American people have seen firsthand how great the need for increased oversight of foreign investment in our nation’s food supply chain is during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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