WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Filemon Vela (D-TX) and Ronny Jackson (R-TX) introduced the bipartisan Foreign Adversary Risk Management (FARM) Act, which would combat foreign interference in America’s agriculture supply chain through reforms to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.

“Our food systems are vital to our national security and we must be vigilant to preserve their integrity.  As we saw following the pandemic, food processing plants were forced to close and shipping routes for agricultural inputs were delayed. It disrupted the supply chains farmers use to get products from the farm to consumers, which contributed to declining food security in the United States,” said Rep. Vela. “This bill increases federal scrutiny of foreign investments in U.S. industry that could undermine our agricultural supply chains by adding the Secretary of Agriculture to CFIUS and designating agricultural supply chains as key infrastructure under the CFIUS review process.”

“Foreign interference in America’s agriculture supply chain poses a serious national security threat, especially given that the worst proponent is the Chinese Communist Party. I represent the top-rated agriculture district in Texas, so protecting this vital industry and its overarching supply chains will always be among my top priorities in Congress. Our adversaries are working overtime to undermine American interests, and the FARM Act will be an important step to secure America’s food supply by identifying and responding to inappropriate interference,” said Rep. Jackson. 

“The pandemic has underscored the critical contributions of our farmers, ranchers, and agriculture community to ensure our country remains food secure even in the face of unprecedented times,” said Senator Tuberville. “Food security is national security, which is why the agriculture industry needs a seat at the table for the foreign investment vetting process. By adding agricultural supply chains as a covered transaction for CFIUS review, we can safeguard our food supply chains and agriculture industry from bad actors.”

Background:

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is authorized to oversee and review foreign investment and ownership in domestic businesses as it relates to national security. Currently, the Committee does not directly consider the needs of the agriculture industry when reviewing foreign investment and ownership in domestic businesses. The FARM Act would ensure CFIUS acknowledges the importance of our agricultural industry and agricultural supply chains for our nation’s safe and secure food supplies. 

Specifically, the Foreign Adversary Risk Management (FARM) Act would: 

  • add the Secretary of Agriculture as a member to CFIUS;
  • add language to protect the U.S. agriculture industry from foreign control through transactions, mergers, acquisitions, or agreements; designate agricultural supply chains as critical infrastructure and critical technologies,
  • and report to Congress on current and potential foreign investments in the U.S. agricultural industry from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The American agricultural industry has changed significantly over time due to rising foreign investment and consolidation in the industry. The federal government must shed light on global corporations becoming more involved with our domestic food supply and agricultural businesses.

Bill text can be found here

 

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