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Opinion: No one will be tougher on China than Eric Schmitt

We have held our tongue while we have watched Attorney General Eric Schmitt be falsely attacked for his strong support for Missouri farm families and agriculture.

As Missouri farmers and former members of the Missouri House of Representatives, we are here to set the record straight and correct the slanderous lies they are telling about Schmitt and their tortured false claims about Missouri farmland and China.

The legislation they are talking about is SB 9, and it had broad support from Missouri conservatives and leading agriculture organizations. The bill, now law, included a farmland ownership provision to strengthen the restriction on farmland sales to foreign entities.

This ownership provision requires Missouri’s governor-appointed director of Agriculture to approve or deny the direct sale of Missouri farmland to foreign entities and restrict the sale of farmland to no more than one percent on the aggregate of all agricultural land. These protections were included in all versions of the bill then-Sen. Schmitt, and many others like us, voted for at the time.

Prior to the bill passing, there were no such protections in Missouri law. In other words, before this legislation became law, foreign entities could come to Missouri and purchase as much land as they wanted.

The news of a Chinese-owned meat producer acquiring Smithfield foods came about after the Missouri legislature passed restrictions on countries like China from purchasing Missouri farmland.

Moreover, neither Schmitt nor the legislature ever approved any such sale — that’s an outright lie.

Now, years later, political opponents of Schmitt, covering for their own weakness on China, are lying to Missouri voters and attempting to hide the truth about a law that protects Missouri farmland. Schmitt is a fighter and does what is in the best interest of Missourians and always has.

Schmitt has sued China for its lies and deceit surrounding the unleashing of its coronavirus on the world. Perhaps that’s what explains his opponents’ desperate attempts to smear him. No one will be tougher on China in the U.S. Senate than Eric Schmitt.