Gov. Mike Parson has signed an executive order barring China and other foreign adversaries from owning Missouri agricultural land within a 10-mile radius of military sites. Parson said he is taking a proactive stance against any potential threats in case state lawmakers do not pass legislation this session.

“With no legislation approved the last couple of years and the coming political year, our administration wants to make sure we have something on the books to safeguard Missouri’s security interests with the authority we do have as governor,” he said.

Under Parson’s order, the state’s Department of Agriculture would have the power to approve or deny an ag land purchase by a foreign business.
His order does not affect existing landowners.

“At this point today, we have not had an issue under these circumstances,” Parson said. “Again, this is an executive order, and I am limited to somewhat what I can do. We’ll see what the general assembly does.”

Parson said it’s important that Missouri has a say in whether a foreign business should be allowed to purchase land in the state.

“Boy, I think it’s a start to definitely be able to protect Missouri land where we’re going to be able to control whether what foreign companies come here and whoever’s in here to stay,” he said. “Again, depending on what the legislation does, too. I don’t know what the general assembly is going to do, but right now for a foreign entity to come into the state, regardless of who they are, would have to go through the Missouri Department of Agriculture.”

His order targets countries such as China, North Korea, Cuba, and Russia while recognizing the current economic partnerships Missouri has with Israel, the UK, Germany, and Japan.

The critics are sounding off. The Missouri Realtors Association has argued that government should not interfere with the people’s right to sell their property.

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, a fellow Republican who’s running for governor, called Parson’s rule “too little too late.”

State Sen. Bill Eigel, a Republican running for governor, said Parson’s rule is “weak” because it does not include Syria.

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