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Opinion: Americans Agree We Need to Protect American Farming from China’s Threat

As Americans, we need domestic crops to feed our families, fuel our economy, and make the fabrics of our clothes, and I value my fellow farmers and ranchers, who work hard to ensure that we have a safe, abundant, and affordable ag products that are crucial in every American life. We also prioritize our national security, which depends on American economic strength and independence.

But both values are under threat from a foreign adversary that could undermine our food and national security. China, the world’s largest authoritarian country, has a long history of hostility and aggression towards the United States and our interest across the world, and soon they could control a key agriculture component that Americans depend on for domestic food, fuel and fiber

Not surprisingly, a new poll by the nonprofit organization Building America’s Future shows that Americans are concerned with ensuring China does not interfere in American agriculture independence. The new poll shows that 81% of Americans support efforts to limit China’s control over our food supply by ensuring the use of a key farming ingredient made in America. Additionally, the poll shows that 79% of Americans think that if we rely on countries like China to produce a crucial ingredient for our food supply, we put our own health and safety at risk.

There are proposals in key agricultural states including Missouri that would ensure China doesn’t control American food supply by protecting a key farming tool, glyphosate.

Currently, glyphosate, an important product to control toxic weeds and needed to protect crops, is used on roughly 40% of farm acres across the United States. It has been in use for more than 50 years and has been proven safe and effective for use by regulators including Japan, Australia, the European Union, and of course, the United States. Glyphosate enables more than $50 billion of U.S. crop production every year. ​Since the U.S. and China are the only major glyphosate producers, this should be an easy choice – protect America-made protects or let China control the future of U.S. agriculture.

This threat is real: Any farmer can tell you that there is no affordable, safe and effective substitute to glyphosate. Without American-made glyphosate, China could decide to suddenly curtail supply or sid aanother way, hit the “kill switch”. This would have significant consequences on the productivity of American agricultural output, causing food price hikes for all Americans and reducing America’s role as a global breadbasket.

China has a history of using its economic leverage to coerce and intimidate other countries, as well as engaging in unfair trade practices, intellectual property theft, and cyberattacks. China has also been accused of producing and exporting substandard and contaminated products, such as tainted pet food, toxic toys, and adulterated honey.

Moreover, China has a strategic interest in controlling the global food supply chain, as part of its ambition to become the world’s dominant superpower. China has been investing heavily in acquiring land, water, and agricultural resources around the world, even in the United States.

These actions are not only detrimental to the interests and values of the United States, but also to the principles and norms of the world that we have helped to build and maintain. China does not abide by the rules and standards of the World Trade Organization and other international cooperative agreements. China does not care about the environmental and social impacts of its activities, nor the health and welfare of its own people or the people of other countries.

Legislatures considering whether to preserve American-made glyphosate should speak to their farmer constituents: they’ll tell you that there is a strong food security, farm security, and national security interest in preserving and protecting American-made glyphosate rather than relying on an unreliable partner like China.