Wilton Simpson rolls out plan to restrict foreign control of Florida land

by | Dec 9, 2022

  • 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 BorreroDanny 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.”


  1. John

    This is fear mongering on a made up issue that doesn’t exist. The National Board of Realtors you cite is for home sales not agricultural land. This is a poorly disguised attempt to control property rights of Floridians. If you want to sell your home, you’re going to have ask the state for permission.

  2. Robert

    You need to read ALL of the article, not just the one paragraph you obviously read. Currently, more than 35 million acres of FARMLAND in the USA is owned by foreign investors, and foreign investors (guess who) spent $6.1 billion on US real estate last year mainly in California and Florida. Current law imposes NO restrictions on the amount of private US agricultural land or private real estate and undeveloped property that can foreign owned, even by countries that hate us. WHY are you WOKE Progressives so hell-bent on turning the USA over … lock, stock, and barrel to every communist and adversarial nation on the planet?

    • Anonymous

      Robert, I stand by my statements. This is a false premise in search of a solution meant to stir division and hate. 35 million acres equates to about 2.7% of our farmland. This is hardly a fire sale on US farmland. Many states have some restrictions on foreign ownership of farmland. There are about 2 million private farms in our country. 3% of all farms are big agribusiness concerns.

      I would dare to say if you want to curtail real estate holdings by foreigners, the State and National Boards of Realtors would have a lot to say about your misguided views on land ownership in this country.

      • Robert

        Misguided? Everything WOKE is misguided, including and especially your views on unrestricted foreign farmland and real estate acquisition(s).

      • Panhandler

        Several years ago I was working on a project that was ag based. The partners wanted to grow in China, after some research, I was told China will not allow us to own land there. In fact, we could not even acquire an independent lease. We would have to pay a third party. Many other countries don’t just roll out the red carpet for foreigners to come settle in. While this plan was presented with grandeur, the fact is: We must be cognizant of all large scale foreign action and ensure there are laws in place to protect our resources. This is not new information about China’s not so discrete land grab. From someone with land transaction experience, 200k acres in a year is extremely high. Ted turner is one of the largest private land owners in the country and that would be a leap for him. I find it odd that you don’t see the issue. Certain rights and resources come with land ownership. Water wars are a current reality. Any thoughts on why a foreign communist country with whom we have a pretty icy relationship with might want vast amounts of land here?

  3. wordpresing1

    I support limitations on purchases of large tracts of farm or woodland, but details are needed on the proposed restrictions. Approximately two-thirds of international purchases were of detached single-family homes and townhouses according to the National Assn. of Realtors. Much of that was by Brits and Canadians. I would not like to see Russians or Chinese controlling farmland, but it is hardly a national security threat if they support the Miami condo market.

  4. Robert

    C’mon people! Farmland acquisition aside do you REALLY believe the Russians and Chinese are buying non-agricultural properties because they’ve jumped on the bandwagon for “truth, justice, and the American way?” Or that they’ve bought into the idea of “the American Dream?” Can you allow … just for a second, that maybe, just maybe (some) of it could be for nefarious reasons … such as crime (the Russians) and/or espionage (the Chinese)? Or maybe a little bit of each by both parties? Are we REALLY that WOKE stupid ?

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