Agriculture Commissioner-Elect Wilton Simpson, State Senator Jay Collins (R-Tampa), Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, and Representative David Borrero (R-Sweetwater) today announced a framework for planned legislation to restrict foreign control of Florida agriculture land and key strategic military lands. Commissioner-Elect Simpson and Senator Collins were joined by Representatives Danny Alvarez and Lawrence McClure and Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, as well as representatives from Florida’s Agriculture Community and other stakeholders.
“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 Senator 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.”
Commissioner-Elect Simpson laid out what he calls “Florida’s Strategic Land Plan” aimed at restricting the purchase, acquisition, lease, or holding of controlling interest in agricultural land in the state of Florida by nonresident aliens, foreign businesses and corporations, or foreign governments. Also encompassed are key strategic military lands in the state of Florida. As of 2020, 1.3 million acres of agricultural land in Florida were under foreign ownership.
“We have a responsibility to ensure Floridians have access to a safe, affordable and abundant food and water supply,” said Commissioner-Elect Simpson. “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.”
“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,” said Representative 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.”
“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 Representative 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.”
“Preserving and protecting our agricultural community ensures a safe and reliable food supply, which is essential for all Floridians,” said Sheriff Chronister. “I commend Commissioner-Elect Simpson for proposing this legislation and appreciate the growing support by legislators.”