By Dennis Sun, columnist
Here in America, we always seem to be the nice guys going along with things, up to a point. Such is the case with letting other countries buy our private lands or companies.
There are some countries we should be OK with doing business with, but not countries like Russia, China or any countries involved in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. They just don’t have the best intentions to get along with America.
Some years back, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton allowed Russia to buy Uranium One, a company with vast amounts of claims in Wyoming and the West. Russia then donated dollars to her and Bill’s foundation. We have since bought it back.
Now, we have China buying up American lands, except they have been buying up lands close to military bases or communications centers. Imagine that, China spying on us.
A Chinese ag company recently purchased some farmland close to the Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota, which also happens to be a drone center. They purchased 300 acres for $2.6 million, their excuse was they wanted a place to build a corn milling plant. That’s like wanting to build a cotton gin plant in Wyoming.
Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) has introduced a bill to block businesses from China and a few other countries from purchasing American farmland or agricultural interests. He hopes to have it a part of the upcoming farm bill.
I can understand sellers wanting these countries to buy their lands – they pay top dollar. It is just like the Bureau of Land Management acquiring ranches in the West.
At some point, we have to stop this nonsense. It’s a food security issue.
As farmland becomes more expensive, we may see more selling. So far, as of June, the overall national farmland values jumped around 12.4 percent for 2022, the highest jump in overall farmland values since 2007.
The Plains and Midwest states saw the highest growth, while some Northeastern states maintained the highest value. The Corn Belt saw an average bump of 14.9 percent and the Dakotas, Nebraska and Kansas saw a bump of 19.8 percent.
Kansas was the highest in the nation, with a 25.2 increase in the first half of 2022. These increases are huge.
Looking strictly at cropland acres, values nationally averaged $5,050 per acre, up 14.3 percent from last year. The most economical states for cropland were Montana at $1,160 an acre, up 10.5 percent, Wyoming at $1,720 an acre, up 7.5 percent and New Mexico at $1,790 an acre, up 7.8 percent.
A number of these cropland acres are bought by moneyed people looking to raise crops for fake meat products, such as Bill Gates. Currently, fake meat companies are now struggling as people choose to eat the real deal, meat.
I don’t know when these higher land prices will level out, but there must be some concerns in ag bankers’ minds. At some point, we hope, the food shortage issue will fade away but currently, it’s cheaper to eat out than go buy groceries at the store.
This is our world today.
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