PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Gov. Kristi Noem continued her recent trend of warning against the threat of Chinese communists in South Dakota, announcing via news release Tuesday that she and certain legislators will seek to restrict foreign purchases of agricultural land in South Dakota.

According to the release, a new Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States – South Dakota (CFIUS-SD) will be formed to investigate proposed purchases of ag land by foreign interests and recommend either approval or denial to the Governor.

“With this new process, we will be able to prevent nations who hate us – like Communist China – from buying up our state’s agriculture land,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “We cannot allow the Chinese Communist Party to continue to buy up our nation’s food supply, so South Dakota will lead the charge on this vital national security issue.”

Sen. Erin Tobin (R-Winner) and Rep.-elect Gary Cammack (R-Union Center) will be the bill’s primary sponsors. “For those of us who have lived and worked on the land, we know that it’s our past, but also our future,” said Tobin.

Tobin further explained her reasons on Twitter. “It doesn’t take a crystal ball to see that food security and availability is going to be at the top of the list of priorities in the next 50 years. (South Dakota) should be able to decide if Ag land is sold to foreign entities who only want to harm America,” she wrote.

Tobin added, “Most importantly, this is something my constituents are concerned about. They elect me to work for them. And that is what I intend to keep doing.”

The CFIUS-SD board would consist of the Governor’s General Counsel, the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the Director of the South Dakota Office of Homeland Security, as well as two more appointees by Noem: an agricultural industry expert who owns at least 160 acres of agricultural land in SD, and a national and/or state security or foreign policy expert.

CFIUS-SD jurisdiction would cover:

  • Any transaction of any number of acres – including a land transfer, purchase, grant, devise, descent, or inheritance of agricultural land – involving a “foreign entity” (any foreign person, foreign government, foreign business, or any organization controlled by a foreign person, government, or business);
  • Any lease of agricultural land to a foreign entity for a period of one year or longer; and,
  • Any transaction previously considered by the federal CFIUS board.

Recently, Noem also issued an order banning the app Tik Tok from being used on state devices, again citing fear of Communist China.

U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) thanked Noem for her support on what he described on Twitter as “this critical national security issue. In August, I introduced legislation on the federal level to blacklist foreign entities, like China, from purchasing both ag land and ag businesses in the United States.”

His legislation would add the U.S. secretary of agriculture to the federal CFIUS board and give the U.S. president authority to prohibit transfers or involvement by foreign parties regarding ag property.

Rounds also is a Senate co-sponsor of bipartisan legislation calling for a temporary commission to develop a U.S. approach toward the People’s Republic of China across all federal departments and agencies.

U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) has been active on the anti-China front as well. He is co-sponsor of two bills and has been vocal publicly, issuing a column in August on China’s takeover of U.S. farmland and joining more than 100 other congressional members in sending a letter in October to the head of the federal Government Accountability Office regarding foreign investment in U.S. farmland.

Johnson introduced ‘Block the Tok’ legislation in September regarding TikTok’s access to U.S. citizens’ data. He joined U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) in July in introducing the PASS Act to prevent China from purchasing U.S. agricultural businesses. In July 2021 Johnson joined U.S. Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) in introducing the Countering Communist China Act, a package of legislation intended to confront “the growing threat the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) poses to the United States.”

Reporter Bob Mercer contributed to this story.