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Contrary to Noem’s TV Claims, South Dakota Not Leading Fight Against Chinese Ownership of Food Production

During the latest leg of her national book tour last week, Kristi Noem lied on Newsmax about South Dakota’s acceptance of expanded federal unemployment benefits during the pandemic. She also fibbed a bit when she tried to portray South Dakota as a role model in protecting farmland and food production from the Red Menace:

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem told Newsmax Thursday that reports of China buying farmland in the United States is cause for concern because the communist nation will “control us if they control what goes in our grocery stores.”

“There are limitations in [South Dakota] state law as to how much they can buy, and I think that’s very wise and something every state should be looking at,” Noem said during an appearance on Newsmax’s “The Record With Greta Van Susteren.” “I think that, even in this discussion that we are having right now, South Dakota will be continuing to restrict the ability of foreign countries to come and buy up our land, buy into our companies” [Nicole Wells, “Gov. Kristi Noem to Newsmax: China ‘Will Control Us’ If They Control Our Food Supply,” Newsmax, 2022.07.28].

First off, as I reported in May, as of the end of 2020, China owned less than 1% of foreign-held agricultural land and increased its U.S. farmland holdings that year by only 2,527 acres, the equivalent of less than two average farms in South Dakota. 16 other countries own more U.S. agricultural acres than China.

Second, South Dakota is not leading the way in resisting foreign acquisition of agricultural land. Again, as I reported in May, under Kristi Noem’s watch, in 2020, foreign ag land holdings increased 16% in South Dakota, while nationwide, foreign ag land holdings increased just under 7%.

Third, states are looking to restrict foreign ownership of the means of food production should not be looking at South Dakota as a role model. We spent over a decade promoting foreign investment in factory feedlots and meat production facilities through the EB-5 visa program and happily let Chinese investors sink millions of dollars into those agricultural projects. During the pandemic, Noem’s administration worked hand in glove with Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods to make sure the CDC didn’t get in the way of Chinese wiener-making and profit-taking. If South Dakota were serious about preventing the Chinese from getting their hooks into our meat, we’d cancel Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods’ deed to its Sioux Falls slaughterhouse and hand it to Luke Minion and Wholestone Farms (hey! that would solve a couple of problems!) Instead, we have Kristi Noem’s campaign chairman bankrolling a campaign led by a faithful SDGOP lobbyist to protect the Chinese meatpacker from local competition.

Kristi Noem sounds concerned about foreign ownership of farmland when she’s on TV in Washington, D.C. But she’s not doing anything about it when she’s back here in South Dakota.

Related Regulatory Reading: Chinese and other foreign investors may own more farmland than we know, but to find the full tally, we’d need to tighten up reporting and regulations. The USDA’s figures on foreign ownership depend on self-reporting under the Agriculture Foreign Investment Disclosure Act. Individuals wanting to check that data against local records will have to sift through all sorts of mostly opaque corporate names and filings, which in South Dakota need not give any information about who actually owns any given property.


  1. larry kurtz 2022-08-01 08:50

    Americans should be concerned. Draining fragile aquifers and quietly lobbying for more water from the Gila River is the House of Saud who owns land in Arizona where they raise alfalfa to ship to Saudi Arabia. That Dan Lederman would steer criminals like Mohammed bin Salman into South Dakota is completely within his crooked wheelhouse.

  2. buckobear 2022-08-01 08:53

    and, of course, we have no idea who or what owns all those secret “trust” accounts

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-08-01 09:51

    Buckobear, thank you for reminding us of the deep stake South Dakota holds in protecting the secrecy of ownership of vast wealth in our state. She won’t tell us who really owns certain tracts of farmland any sooner than she’ll tel us who owns the billions of dollars her lawyer friends are tending in Sioux Falls banks.

  4. All Mammal 2022-08-01 12:46

    Isn’t it inconsiderate timing to go on book tour while you are supposed to be governing an entire state that elected you to do a specific job? Like be their governor? Not promote yourself while we have issues like children being murdered in drive by shootings. She couldn’t care less. She needs to be let go for dereliction of duties.

  5. All Mammal 2022-08-01 12:58

    Can’t we sue the FCC or something for the out right lies from lying politicians being constantly aired on TV? Or maybe just ask them nicely first to regulate the lies from political officials and issue sanctions and write up fines? The lies wreak havoc and can destroy our country. The lies have proven to cause insurrection for Pete’s sake.

  6. P. Aitch 2022-08-01 15:04

    Your Governor Noem is like a baby Nazi. She claims to be protecting your rights by attacking others’ rights. Every day it’s a new lie about a new enemy of the people. Luckily and still, the majority of Americans think she’s just a kook! She’s your state’s sickness and Augustana’s Jamie Smith is the medicine.

  7. jerry 2022-08-01 15:24

    I thought EB5 Rounds made it perfectly fine for Chinese ownership of land or anything else in South Dakota. NOem was even in the legislature when all of this EB5 went down, so clearly she just forgot again her support. NOem needs to give a shout out to EB5 Rounds or Better Call Joop, for the lowdown.

  8. Arlo Blundt 2022-08-01 20:01

    Corporate ownership of farmland by international corporations is expanding everywhere including South Dakota. These press releases are just more nonsense from Governor Noem and Congressman Johnson. No fact checking, no proof reading, just blather. They are not, required to take any action It’s all bright lights and loud noises. . Next they will be promoting phrenology in the classroom.

  9. Richard Schriever 2022-08-01 20:21

    All Mammal – IIRC the FCC has no regulatory authority over cable television, satellite television, or the Internet as those are all access controlled/private space(s). Its regulation is restricted strictly to what is broadcast over the public airwaves.

  10. DaveFN 2022-08-02 00:26

    By-and-large, Democrats champion real victims while Republicans have to construct victims to justify their own Republican existence.

  11. All Mammal 2022-08-02 06:27

    Thanks, Mr. Schriever. I found this result at the FCC gov website and clicked on What We Do:

    The Federal Communications Commission regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.

    I just figure since our state participates in lawsuits all over the place and seems to like to sue other states and federal agencies, why not get the ball rolling with shutting up the fat lying lips of Gov Kristi n em?. The FCC fines rappers when they use raw language- and they’re the ones who actually are simply rhyming about their lives in the projects, and sometimes suburbs. It wouldn’t hurt to attempt flipping the status quo of our FCC from airing douche nozzle liars on every channel while fining black musicians telling blue streaked truths hella gwap. (The liars are not even douche bag status. Just the floppy nozzle part)

  12. jerry 2022-08-02 06:29

    China is about out of water. What happens when people are thirsty, do they die like the youg feller did in the Badlands of thirst?

    “A water crisis could be the biggest threat to China’s rise as a superpower, undercutting the growth and stability so prized by the Government.

    Key points:
    The Yongding River has been dry for 30 years
    At its peak, the 700-kilometre river was at least 10 metres deep
    The Government’s $100 billion South-North Water Transfer Project has been tipped as a solution
    In unusually blunt terms, former Chinese premier Wen Jiabao has warned the lack of water threatened the very survival of the Chinese nation itself.

    Most of northern China suffers from acute water shortage. The statistics are alarming: in the past 25 years, 28,000 rivers and waterways have disappeared across the country.

    The flow of the northern rivers has dramatically slowed or totally dried up.”,Yongding%20River%20has%20been%20dry%20for%2030%20years

    How will crooked republicans protect our rivers and water supply? The answer is, they won’t.

  13. All Mammal 2022-08-02 07:22

    Rivers and such are like a leaf’s veins; meant to be spread throughout in a lovely pattern. That cannot happen when all major river ways are choked off with dams. Most major rivers in the world likely are dammed. I read somewhere that China’s dammed up water hoarding has tipped the good earth on her axis from all that concentrated weight. Free the water! Quench the planet!

  14. P. Aitch 2022-08-02 09:55

    Here’s where I get information about China. Fact based, uncensored editorials from an unbiased American now living in Taiwan. Delivered to my inbox every Tuesday. *She’s been banned from living in Mainland China, also.

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