One major priority for Republicans in the Missouri legislature that fell short is limiting foreign ownership of farmland.

The Missouri House passed a bill that would have said no more than 0.5 percent of Missouri’s farmland could be owned by a foreign government or company. The plan would also have banned China, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela from buying any land in Missouri. Other countries could have been added to the list of banned nations.

In the Senate, lawmakers voted in favor of banning foreign countries and companies from buying agricultural land, but not for potential use of nonfarming purposes.

“I think some outside voices got involved (and) that kind of mucked up what we thought was a pretty good package,” said Caleb Rowden, Senate President Pro-tem, R-Columbia. “It’s a kind of a complex issue.”

The bill was driven by concerns that companies under the control of the Chinese government already own lots of agricultural land in the United States.

“The ag world has to live in a certain world and operate, you know, in parameters that they’re given; they’re very highly regulated,” Rowden said. “There’s only so many places they can go to, you know, ship their products; and so that from that perspective, ag is a global commodity, no doubt about it.”

House and Senate negotiators were working on a compromise, but time ran out on the 2023 regular session before they could get it to each chamber for a final round of votes.

Copyright 2023, Missourinet.