JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Ahead of a hearing for HB 2206, Tuesday, Family Farm Action has sent a letter to every member of the Missouri House of Representatives, encouraging them to sign on as a co-sponsor to legislation banning the foreign ownership of farmland in Missouri.
The letter reads in part, “This bill would reinstate a decade’s long ban on the foreign ownership of Missouri farmland that was lifted through a secretive process in 2013 to benefit a few agribusiness special interests. The bill would ensure that Missouri family farmers and their communities are not struggling to compete with foreign-owned multinational corporations.”
Family Farm Action Communications Director, Chelsea Davis said, “It’s critical that State Representatives co-sponsor HB 2206 now to show leadership that this bill deserves a vote on the House Floor. Often we see good legislation like this stalled because of a few well connected special interests.”
HB 2206 ensures that foreign aliens including foreign held corporations cannot purchase farmland in the future and any farmland currently owned by foreign interest cannot be sold or transferred to another foreign interest. A report released earlier this year by the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) stated: “Foreign ownership of Missouri farmland is a growing problem and even the current data available may not provide the full picture, given that determining the identity of investors can be difficult.”
OCM Executive Director, Joe Maxwell wrote in the report summary; “Foreign investment in U.S. farmland artificially increases the value of land above its production value, driving farmers from the land and denying the next generation of America’s family farmers the opportunity to be the next generation.”
HB 2206 filed by Rep. Stevens of Columbia will be heard by the House Economic Development Committee at 8:00 AM Tuesday, March 13th in House Hearing Room 7.
Family Farm Action is a coalition of family-farmers and advocates building the “political muscle” to fight for farmers and rural communities.