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Yanking up the welcome mat on Chinese ownership of Missouri land
Feb 15, 2023


The story of how China got a foothold in Missouri in 2013 says a lot about Republicans’ overwhelming fealty to big business at the time — and about the importance of campaign contribution limits in politics. Missouri had no such limits in 2013 (the voters would impose them three years later), so when Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, needed lawmakers’ help, they were able to generously grease the skids.

Smithfield that year was trying to sell itself to a Chinese conglomerate, which would turn over control of 42,000 acres of Missouri hog-farm operations and other land to the Hong Kong-based company. But Missouri law prohibited foreign ownership of agricultural land here. So lawmakers — most of whom had received thousands or in some cases tens of thousands of dollars from Smithfield — quickly rewrote the law to allow foreign ownership of up to 1% of Missouri’s agricultural land. When then-Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, vetoed the legislation, the legislature overrode him.


Most of the lawmakers who approved the Smithfield deal are no longer in office, but at least two remain prominent: Current Gov. Mike Parson and U.S. Sen. Eric Schmitt, both Republicans, were both state senators at the time. Both had accepted campaign contributions from Smithfield, and both voted to help China gain control over Missouri land.


Eric Schmitt (r) [2022 file photo].


Senator Eric Schmitt @SenEricSchmitt
Yesterday @RepMarkAlford & I sent a letter to the Treasury & CFIUS decrying their decision to leave @AirWhiteman off their recent ruling that would prevent China from buying nearby land.

Whiteman is crucial to our national defense and should be protected.
10:28 AM · May 25, 2023


Some of the responses:

Hypocrisy at its finest.

You sold Missouri to China

The Missouri Senate blew their chance to pass the bill sent over from the House that would have limited foreign ownership of land. Have you spoken with Missouri legislators about this?

The right wingnut controlled Missouri General Assembly.

You voted to sell Missouri farmland to China in 2013, when you were a Missouri Senator and then voted to override the Democratic governor’s veto.

There’s that.

Total hypocracy from the gop as usual.

Really Eric @SenEricSchmitt What, you’re having a case of Sometimers? You’ve forgotten you pushed Missouri “Right To Farm” so, China could buy Smithfield Foods, 40,000 acres and now own 242,000 acres of Missouri farmland?

Oh wow Senator. Why did you vote to let foreign companies buy Missouri land? And, why did you overrule Governor Nixons veto?? You think Missourians will forget about that but we won’t.

Right now, any enemy of the US could hang around outside of Whiteman and alert their handlers as to the comings and goings of B2 bombers.

Think about that for just a second:

B-2 bomber.

And any ten-year-old with access to the internets:

You voted to allow the sale of our farmland as a Senator in 2013, AND voted to override the veto!

The why did allow China to purchase the land in the first place? Their was a law to stop that. Republicans got rid of it. Now you cry foul?

Your chickens home to roost as it were. Selling land to China was fine 10 years ago?


Yeah, you might want to ask Eric Schmitt (r) about that (April 17, 2023)