A new bill brought forth by U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) wants to add the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The Food Security is National Security Act also directs CFIUS to consider U.S. food and agriculture systems when determining whether or not to approve foreign investment in U.S. companies.
National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson lauded the bill, citing the importance of maintaining food security for the sake of U.S. national security.
“Potential impacts on global and domestic food security should be a primary consideration for those tasked with ensuring our national security. As we’re seeing across the world, food shortages, and disputes are leading to massive international crises. Without stability and certainty in our food systems, we can expect similar crises on our own soil,” said Johnson, in a recent release.
The U.S. agriculture sector has recently experienced an extensive amount of investment from foreign governments and companies, notably Smithfield’s sale to Chinese firm Shuanghui, the Syngenta acquisition by Chinese-government owned group ChemChina, and Bayer’s proposed acquisition of Monsanto.
“This foreign investment threatens our domestic food security,” noted Johnson. “In the case of biotech, it transfers critical technologies to foreign entities. In meat processing, it has disrupted trade markets, giving foreign competitors an unfair advantage.”
“NFU is pleased Sens. Stabenow and Grassley are calling for increased scrutiny on food security implications, and we call on Congress to adopt this commonsense legislation.”