Weak Oversight of Foreign Farmland Deals Sparks Concern Amid China Purchases

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WASHINGTON—A bipartisan group of lawmakers criticized the Agriculture Department Monday for lax oversight of U.S. farmland purchases by foreign buyers, an issue that has been spotlighted by rising concern over Chinese acquisitions. 

The 28 lawmakers, including House GOP Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik of New York and Rep. Mark Pocan (D., Wis.) expressed “deep concern” in a letter sent to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack Monday over the department’s decision not to assess any penalties between 2015 and 2018 over any lapses in reporting foreigners’ purchases of U.S. farmland. The penalties later resumed.

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