- The legislation for the upcoming session will restrict foreign control of Florida agriculture land and key strategic military lands
- Simpson announced the measure on Friday, flanked by members in the Florida House and Senate
Incoming Republican Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson outlined new legislation on Friday to restrict foreign entities from purchasing Florida farm land.
Joined by State Senator Jay Collins, State Representatives David Borrero, Danny Alvarez, Lawrence McClure and Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, Simpson rolled out the proposal, called the “Florida’s Strategic Land Plan,” which would restrict the purchase, acquisition, lease, or holding of controlling interest in agricultural land in the Sunshine State by “nonresident aliens, foreign businesses and corporations, or foreign governments.”
“We have a responsibility to ensure Floridians have access to a safe, affordable and abundant food and water supply,” Simpson said in a Friday press conference. “Florida plays a critical role in our food supply chain and in the national security of the United States. China now controls nearly 200,000 acres of agricultural land in the U.S., leaving our food supply chain, our water quality and our national security interests vulnerable to the Chinese Communist Party. Restricting foreign control of Florida’s agricultural land and key strategic military land will protect our state, provide long-term stability and preserve economic freedom.”
According to a news release, 1.3 million acres of agricultural land in Florida were under foreign ownership.
“As a Green Beret, I have seen first-hand the impact foreign adversaries’ involvement can have on infrastructure, supply chains and national security here at home and across the globe,” said Collins. “As a farmer, Commissioner-Elect Simpson is on the frontlines protecting our food and water supply, and I am eager to work with him and my partner in the House, Rep. Borrero, to protect and preserve these important Florida agricultural lands and key strategic military lands, now and in the future.”
“History should be a grim reminder that no foreign enemy, especially a communist dictatorship, should ever control any farmland in the land of the free. Our national security requires fertile, free and domestically owned farmland,” added Borrero. “With political upheaval and economic turmoil taking place in many foreign countries, Florida must act to insulate our food supply and food prices from these drastic events. Florida will act accordingly to make sure that foreign influences like China will not pose a threat to the critical food supply and food prices in our state.”
Earlier this year, Simpson and Governor Ron DeSantis vowed to crack down on countries like China in response to foreign businesses reportedly buying up large tracts of farmland.
A recent report by the National Association of Realtors, found that Chinese real estate investors spent over $6 billion on American real estate over a 12-month period that ended in March — more than any other foreign group.
Notably, Florida accounted for 24% of all international real estate purchases in the US.
“Florida will not stand by while our lands and our water supply fall into the hands of enemies who operate in the shadows to undermine our freedom from within,” said Alvarez. “Incapable of competing head-to-head, they choose subversive schemes to take our food and water hostage in hopes of crippling us from the inside. We will fight those efforts and send a clear message that Florida is not for sale.”