(KXNET) — Agriculture land in North Dakota is a prized possession. 

“Often the goal of these is similar to the Walmart strategy to drive out local competition by operating on a loss that they can afford to take and then make the local economy dependent on their company,” said Dakota Resource Council, Sam Wagner.

“It’s North Dakota land, you’re worried about upsetting other people about giving up the rights of the people of North Dakota,” said supporter, Michael Coachman. 

“From my 20 years of experience serving this beautiful nation, China is putting their chess pieces into place,” said Commissioner, Jason Pierce. 

House Bill 1135 would prevent foreign governments from buying land in the state.

Specifically, the bill relates to agricultural definitions, ownership with the exceptions for beekeeping, agriculture support services, cattle and feedlot operations, as well as raising or producing livestock by persons that have limited landholdings.

“A foreign government is defined as a government, or a state-controlled enterprise of a foreign government estate controlled enterprise, is defined as a business enterprise as in which a foreign government has a controlling interest, a controlling interest is defined as either 51% or more of the ownership, interest or less than 51% if the foreign government actually directs the business and affairs of the entity,” said 47th District Representative, Lawrence Klemin. 

Supporters of the bill say when it comes to food security, water, and natural resources, we need to be in full control, for the future of North Dakotans.

Those opposed say there are holes in the bill’s term use.

Members of the House Ag committee say in a sense the industry is reliant on some foreign relationships, saying they are our “friends”.

Representative Craig Headland says it may just be easier to provide within the bill a list of those we don’t want to do business with.

North Dakota’s AG commissioner says regardless, he’s opposed to the bill because it would impact our state’s business widely. 

“Especially with our seed and chemical industries. It’s not to say that ownership should not be scrutinized, but we do have federal oversight through the committee on foreign investment in the United States,” said Goehring.

Now, this bill does not apply to land for industrial use such as the FuFung project. 

And if you’re still wondering how that slipped through the cracks in our state…

“I’m not sure how it did, but I do know that when things started evaluating whether it was fear conjecture. I think it really expanded into a discussion that got out of control. I mean it was interesting when I spoke to people involved in security, and I’ll say this publicly North Dakota was identified as having two universities that specifically recruit students from China and the Middle East. One of them actually has a neural space program that operates just five miles off the Air Force Base. I was also reminded that it takes people to do these things given the fact that any foreign country already knows what’s going on in the United States at least the more developed countries have satellites and being located next to something, they said is a bit irrelevant, but it’s really about the people who is infiltrating and who’s doing what,” said Goehring.

Representative Klemin wishes to put a stop to the lending and ownership of our agricultural land to our enemies. 

He says the idea is that if the enemy controls how we eat, when and if things shift, how then will we eat? 

If passed, the interest on leaseholds for projects such as wind farms through Bill 1135, would be exempt. 

The committee did question this, saying exempting a leasehold may be too broad. The Canadian government would be exempt entirely as well. 

The bill will now be further discussed and viewed by committee members, KX News will keep you updated as more comes.