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Senator Melissa Hurtado. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Newsom Vetoes Bill To Prohibit Foreign Governments From Buying CA Agricultural Land

‘Newsom vetoed the bill for a petty reason, a very minor reason’

By Evan Symon, September 28, 2022 1:03 pm

A bill to prohibit foreign governments from purchasing or leasing agricultural land in California was vetoed by Governor Gavin Newsom Tuesday.

Senate Bill 1084, authored by Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger), would have prohibited a foreign government from purchasing, acquiring, leasing, or holding an interest in agricultural land within the California. The bill would also exempt land held by foreign governments before January 1, 2023, from that prohibition, and would have specified that it does not apply to federally recognized Indian tribes or their government units and enterprises. In addition, SB 1084 would have created yearly reports by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to list how much agricultural land is still owned by foreign governments and what recommendations are.

Senator Hurtado authored the bill, also known as the The Food and Farm Security Act, due to concerns over a growing food crisis, helping secure farm land for future food supplies for California and the US, ending drought profiteering, defending the food supply chain, and protecting limited water resources for agricultural use. According to Hurtado and the US Department of Agriculture, 2.7% of all of California’s agricultural land is currently owned by international owners, with the amount growing each year.

“People should be concerned about the growing global food crisis we are in. A crisis marked by increased famine, increasing food shortages and increasing food costs, due to extreme weather and drought,” said Senator Hurtado earlier this year. “Drought profiteering is exacerbating this crisis in California putting a disturbing number of family farmers out of business–leaving Californian’s with more food insecurity and contributing to global famine. Californians take pride in feeding the nation and world, and the Food and Farm Security Act will protect and preserve our agricultural land and help prevent further devastation to food markets. Now is the time for action.”

While there was some concern by Democrats over the bill earlier this year due to the concerns of the legalities in barring certain land buyers based on nationality, as evidenced by an earlier Senate vote in May where 9 Democrats abstained from voting, SB 1084 wound up being largely bipartisan.

“Everyone had something at stake here,” said agricultural policy advisor Tom Lopez to the Globe on Wednesday. “A lot of districts in both houses have strong agricultural ties, so regardless of party, they did it to help protect farmers, food, and water. Republicans were also very protectionist of the bill, with many Democrats, especially those in cities, worried about long-term effects of food supply issues and water. Add to that many districts with strong Latino ties worried about a possible reduction of migrant farm workers due to less farms needing them due to them being under foreign control, and you get most of California in favor of this bill. Everyone had a stake in it.”

Newsom vetoes SB 1084

In August, besides a few Democrats still holding out and abstaining, SB 1084 passed the Assembly 75-0 and the Senate 37-0, with the bill widely being expected to be signed by Governor Newsom. However, on Tuesday, Newsom vetoed the bill, noting in his veto message that the information compiling part of the bill is beyond the purview of the CDFA and would create more difficult responsibilities as a result.

“I am returning Senate Bill 1084 without my signature,” wrote Newsom. ” Federal law requires foreign governments to report interests in agricultural land to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and USDA compiles this information annually into a public report. The additional data reporting required by this bill is beyond CDFA’s purview and would create new and arduous responsibilities for the department. For these reasons, I cannot sign this bill.”

Newsom’s veto upset many who had been counting on the bill to protect the food supply chain and water control in California, with many fearing that foreign control will now only increase in the coming years.

“Protecting California’s agriculture land and food supply chain is fundamental to our survival, yet Governor Newsom’s veto jeopardizes California farm land and leaves it vulnerable to foreign control,” said Senator Hurtado in a statement on Wednesday. “My bill would have helped California maintain our strong agriculture industry and allow us to remain resilient, even during times of global unrest or international conflict. If foreign actors were to gain control of our land and water, the results could be devastating – we could see food shortages, water profiteering and even higher prices at the grocery store. It’s a risk we can’t afford.”

“Newsom vetoed the bill for a petty reason, a very minor reason,” added Lopez. “I don’t think he knows the damage that this will ultimately do.”

As of Wednesday, it is currently unknown if a revised version of the bill will be tried again next session.

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24 thoughts on “Newsom Vetoes Bill To Prohibit Foreign Governments From Buying CA Agricultural Land

    1. ^^^ BINGO!!!

      Our “Young Global Leader” is doing his bidding for his sponsors….and we Californians and our independent farmers, ranchers and agri-businesses suffer as a result….

    2. Truth to the power!
      Newsolini did not get a kick back from American farmers, he is bought and sold by the biggest bidder that being the CCP!
      Another sign he does not support local farming. Central California is hurting!

  1. Does Noisome actually think the Chinese will take care of him if they get what they want? Even a low intelligence party boy should know what happens to traitors once their usefulness is over.

  2. He actually may NOT know, CW. We need to educate him regarding the PLA’s methods – They will march to your office, stand you up, bind your hands, march you out to the courtyard or square, blindfold you and the officer in charge will take out his pistol, put it to your head, and summarily blow your brains out. The End.

  3. this seems to be a continuation from the BYD mask deal which was pure money laundering. this was they payout for the other party which get ready to hear about Chinese state owned companies buying out our farm land.

  4. How quickly can Hurtado’s bill be resubmitted? Given the ominous impact of its absence, it needs to happen yesterday. What is the “petty reason” for Newsom denying this bill, which is clearly essential and supported by both parties? Please show us a map of our state illustrating what land is owned by foreign governments, which countries own that land, and where it is strategically. It appears he’s trying to bring about famine. Newsom’s veto fits the definition of treason. Are we being spurred into punishable uprising? What’s his goal?

  5. Is the governor intentionally bringing about famine? His veto by definition constitutes treason. Special measures should be taken to resubmit and pass this urgent bill. Show us a map of our land owned by foreign governments. Please publicize this.

  6. Elections count !! Newscum marches to his own drummer/ ego, irregardless of how his bad decisions impact all Californians. He clearly has his sights on the oval office which would be an absolute disaster for America. Just look at the incompent job he’s done here in California.

  7. Hey newsom , this is NOT YOUR PROPERTY TO SELL !!! You dumbass , what in the hell do you think you’re doing ? This IS AMERICA !!! And you want to sell it to the ccp !!! How much are you making on thedeal ? This should have been voted on by the residents of California !!!! NOT YOU !!!

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