China’s Land Ownership Near U.S. Military Bases Raises National Security Concerns


Lawmakers and security experts are increasingly alarmed about Chinese companies purchasing large swaths of U.S. farmland near critical military installations. These acquisitions have prompted bipartisan calls for stricter regulations to protect national security.

Chinese entities currently own about 383,000 acres of U.S. farmland, representing a small fraction of total foreign-owned agricultural land in the country. However, the strategic location of some of these purchases near military bases has raised red flags. For instance, the Fufeng Group's acquisition of 300 acres in Grand Forks, North Dakota, places it just 12 miles from the Grand Forks Air Force Base, home to sensitive drone technology and surveillance operations​​.

In response to these concerns, several states have enacted laws to restrict foreign ownership of farmland, particularly near military sites. Texas, for example, passed the "Lone Star Infrastructure Protection Act," which prevents foreign entities from owning critical infrastructure. Similar measures are being considered at the federal level, with legislators like Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) advocating for comprehensive national security reviews of such transactions​​.

Experts warn that Chinese ownership of land near military installations could facilitate espionage and surveillance activities. The close proximity to bases like Grand Forks and Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas could potentially allow for monitoring of U.S. military movements and communications. This concern is exacerbated by China's broader geopolitical strategies and its history of integrating civilian and military sectors under state control​​.

Despite existing regulations, there are significant gaps in data on foreign land ownership. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) collects information under the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act, but reports have highlighted deficiencies in the accuracy and timeliness of this data. Lawmakers argue that without detailed and current information, it is difficult to assess the full extent of foreign ownership and its implications for national security​​.

The increase in Chinese land acquisitions is part of a broader trend of rising foreign investment in U.S. agriculture. From 2012 to 2017, foreign-owned agricultural land increased by an average of 0.6 million acres annually. Since then, the rate has surged to nearly 2.9 million acres per year, raising concerns about the control over food security and critical infrastructure​​.

In light of these concerns, there is growing support for more stringent controls on foreign land purchases, particularly from countries considered adversaries. Proposals include comprehensive reviews of all foreign land transactions near military bases and enhanced transparency in reporting foreign investments in U.S. land​​.

As the debate continues, the need for a balanced approach that protects national security while fostering international investment remains a critical challenge for policymakers.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here