Foreign investors, mainly Oligarchs from Russia, acquired at least 1.6 million acres of U.S. agricultural land in 2016, the largest increase in more than a decade, according to a review by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting of the latest available federal data.
The data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that foreign investors control—either through direct ownership or long-term leases—at least 28.3 million acres, valued at $52.2 billion. That area is about the size of the state of Ohio.
“Foreign integration into the United States agribusiness sector has been steadily increasing over the last few decades,” agricultural law experts Marisa Bocci, Kari Larson and Paulina Wu wrote in a September 2018 report published in the Drake Journal of Agricultural Law.
The state with the most foreign ownership and investment is Maine, which has 3.1 million acres that are foreign-controlled, followed closely by Texas at 3 million acres.
Estimates of foreign ownership of agriculture land may be underreported as data can be inconsistent and the latest release is more than two years old. Still, it gives a strong indication of amount of foreign ownership and lease information.
Already, six states have laws banning foreign ownership of farmland. Those states are Hawaii, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Dakota and Oklahoma.
Trump Defends Withdrawal from Syria Because of “A lot of Sand.”
Yes, you read that right: President Trump is defending his decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria, saying, “It’s not our problem,” and that “they’ve got a lot of sand over there. There’s a lot of sand they can play with.”
He said the Kurds, longtime U.S. allies, are “much safer right now,” and added, “They’re not angels.”
Trump has been facing severe bipartisan criticism for having U.S. forces stand aside as the Turks moved into northeast Syria last week to attack the Kurds, who were allies of the United States in the campaign against Islamic State.
Trump spoke at a photo opportunity before meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella on Wednesday. The two are also holding a joint news conference.
John Bolton Ordered Staff to Report Trump and Guiliani Because of Illegal Ukrainian “Drug Deal.”
The New York Times is reporting that, responding to the Ukraine scandal, Trump aide John Bolton warned “Giuliani’s a hand grenade who’s going to blow everyone up.”
Seems he was fired because he would have no part of President Donald Trump’s off-the-books shadow government Ukraine extortion scandal. Bolton also apparently implicated both the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and the president’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvany.
“I am not part of whatever drug deal Rudy and Mulvaney are cooking up,” Bolton told senior director for Russian and Eurasian affairs Fiona Hill to tell White House lawyers, The New York Times reports in a bombshell article late Monday night.
Bolton, who resigned from the Trump administration hours before President Trump tweeted he had fired him, instructed Hill “to notify the chief lawyer for the National Security Council that Mr. Giuliani was working with Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, on a rogue operation with legal implications,” Hill told House of Representatives investigators on Monday.
EMERGENCY: Turkey Holding US Nukes Hostage
The military situation near the Turkish border in Syria remains in flux, with allegiances shifting quickly amid uncertainty of how everything will shake out. But the fast-moving developments also have drawn attention to a lesser-known fact of US foreign policy:
The Pentagon has about 50 tactical nuclear weapons stored in Turkey at its Incirlik Air Base, reports Business Insider. The big question: Is it still safe to keep them there now that US-Turkey relations are fraying? Related coverage:
- Under review: Officials in the State and Energy departments have begun “quietly reviewing” plans to evacuate the weapons, reports the New York Times. “Those weapons, one senior official said, were now essentially Erdogan’s hostages,” writes David Sanger. “To fly them out of Incirlik would be to mark the de facto end of the Turkish-American alliance. To keep them there, though, is to perpetuate a nuclear vulnerability that should have been eliminated years ago.
- In vaults: The bombs have been stored in underground vaults at Incirlik since the 1960s, per a backgrounder in the New Yorker. That goes back to the days when Incirlik turned into a crucial Cold War base. The story says the vaults “hold about fifty B-61 hydrogen bombs—more than 25% of the nuclear weapons in the NATO stockpile.”
This intervention has precipitated an all-new crisis in the region, prompted the start of at least a tactical withdrawal of U.S. forces from much of the country amid concerns they could be caught in the fighting, and led to calls for an arms embargo and major sanctions on the Turkish government.
- Russians Are Buying US Farm Land As Trump Tariffs Kill Farmers
- Trump Defends Withdrawal from Syria Because of “A lot of Sand.”
- John Bolton Ordered Staff to Report Trump and Guiliani Because of Illegal Ukrainian “Drug Deal.”
- EMERGENCY: Turkey Holding US Nukes Hostage
- EXPOSED: The Russian Spy Who Worked for Trump