U.S. lawmaker, Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) has introduced the Foreign Adversary Risk Management (FARM) Act, which aims to combat foreign influence stemming from improper investment relating to the U.S. agricultural industry.
The bill, if passed by Congress and signed into law, would increase the agricultural industry’s role on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). CFIUS is the governmental entity that practices oversight of the vetting process of foreign investment and acquisition of American companies.
In a bid to protect the national food supply chain, there has been bipartisan support as U.S. Reps. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) and Filemon Vela (D-TX) and have introduced companion legislation to Tuberville’s bill in the lower chamber of Congress.
Alabama’s junior senator believes the bill to be a strong measure in protecting the food security of American citizens.
“The pandemic has underscored the critical contributions of our farmers, ranchers, and agriculture community to ensure our country remains food secure even in the face of unprecedented times,” said Tuberville.
He also pointed out that food security is national security, adding that this is why the agriculture industry needs a seat at the table for the foreign investment vetting process.
“By adding agricultural supply chains as a covered transaction for CFIUS review, we can safeguard our food supply chains and agriculture industry from bad actors.”
CFIUS exercises the authority to oversee and review foreign investment and ownership in domestic businesses. The interests of U.S. agriculture are not presently considered by CFIUS during its review of such matters.
The new legislation is aimed at ensuring the entity considers transactions relating to agriculture to be of interest to national security.
Under the bill’s provisions, the secretary of agriculture would become a new member of CFIUS. It would also protect U.S. agriculture from foreign control through transactions, mergers, acquisitions or agreements.
Additionally, the Farm Act would designate agricultural supply chains as critical infrastructure and critical technologies. The legislation mandates the reporting to Congress of current and potential foreign investments in the U.S. agricultural industry from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Government Accountability Office (GAO).