Consumers around the world are increasingly growing alarmed at the rate in which food prices are rising. Since the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the Biden administration has claimed that the conflict was the reason for increased US inflation – especially food and energy prices. While there is certainly some truth to this, the war is only a contributing factor to a crisis that had already begun to snowball well before Russia invaded Ukraine.
What the Biden administration is trying to hide by pinning the responsibility for the food supply crisis on Russia’s invasion, is the degree with which China has bought up America’s farmland and what that really means.
According to the USDA “Chinese owners controlled about 192,000 agricultural acres in the U.S., worth $1.9 billion, including land used for farming, ranching and forestry.”
While Chinese ownership in terms of acreage is still less than others like England or Canada, the trajectory is what is disconcerting as well as the nationalist goals of the purchases. Food security is essential for a safe country and the Chinese purchases are one component that is forcing more and more farmers out of the industry.
As local farmers out of necessity sell out to Chinese corps, farmland increases in value way beyond what can be afforded by younger farmers. This has a double effect.
Not only do Chinese purchasers succeed in controlling more land, but other buyers tend to be large American corporations. Both of these push out local farmers and put the control into big conglomerates.
Whenever the food supply falls into the control of fewer producers, any disruption can lead to catastrophic consequences. We see this directly with the multiple food supply chain failures in the US and the grain and fertilizer crisis due to the war in Ukraine.
Is There A Solution?
The best solution is to support local farmers and move away from conglomerates who have sold themselves out to China. The other solution is to support congress’s attempt to pass legislation that will control foreign investors in American farmland.
If the United States does not halt the gobbling up of its farmlands by its adversaries, it may be faced with an existential threat when it discovers that the Chinese Communist Party holds the keys to America’s food supply. By then the CCP will have already won.