Not everyone likes Gov. Mike Parson’s executive order to ban American adversaries from owning Missouri farmland within a 10-mile radius of military sites. Bill Eigel, Republican candidate for governor, told Brownfield Ag News that this is “too little, too late.”

“To give you an idea of just how weak this EO actually is, Osama Bin Laden himself, on September 12, 2001, could have, under this Executive Order, gotten nearly a quarter million acres of Missouri farmland in the state of Missouri,” said Eigel. “This does nothing. This is entirely a political maneuver.”

Parson said he is taking a proactive stance against any potential threats in case state lawmakers don’t pass legislation this session.

Eigel is sponsoring a Senate bill that calls for a complete ban on foreign ownership of land in Missouri.

“So I want to be very clear, I don’t have an exception for any foreign entity to own agricultural land in this state,” he said. “I understand that there are foreign entities in this state that own land for a variety of purposes, not just agriculture, but research development as well. The reality is, I am for a total ban from any foreign entity owning any agricultural land in this state.”

Missouri currently has economic partnerships with Israel, the UK, Germany, and Japan, which could be forced to sell any land owned in Missouri if Eigel gets his way. Parson’s order targets countries like China, North Korea, Cuba, and Russia.

“If the governor were serious about protecting farmland, he would actually be reaching out to legislative leaders that have already filed the legislation that will fix the problem and offering his support, not making a grandstanding political display by just standing in front of a microphone and announcing an EO that doesn’t actually solve the problem,” said Eigel. “It doesn’t make anything better for the farmers of this state.”

On the flipside, the Missouri Realtors Association argued that government should not interfere with the people’s right to sell their property.

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, a Republican who’s running for governor, calls Parson’s rule “too little too late.” He helped to craft a bill last year to restrict foreign countries from owning farmland.

House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, a Democrat who is running for governor, has filed a bill this year that would block any additional purchases of Missouri farmland by foreign parties.

“Governor Parson’s executive order is a start, but continues to ignore the problems created after he, Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe, and fellow Republicans passed laws in 2013 allowing foreign entities to purchase Missouri’s farmland,” said Quade.

Parson’s order does not affect existing landowners.

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