LANSING, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) -- Who owns the land next door to you? If you know your neighbors, that might be a very easy question to answer.
But a Michigan lawmaker is concerned about the potential neighbors you might not know.
So concerned, that he has written a bill that he thinks, in his own words, is "critical to American national security."
“If the Chinese can come in and buy up all our farmland, pretty soon they control our ability to produce food,” said State Representative Neil Friske (R-Charlevoix).
Michigan House Bill 4134 was recently introduced by Rep. Friske.
It addresses what Rep. Friske claims is the "Chinese Communist Party's efforts to occupy American farmland."
The legislation would bar "a foreign government or state-sponsored enterprise, or an individual operating on behalf of a foreign government " from buying farmland in the State of Michigan.
Right now, foreign governments or business interests are allowed to buy U.S. soil, but are required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to let them know what they do.
According to a 2021 report from the USDA, 3.1% of all privately held agricultural land in the U.S. is owned by foreign interests. This amounts to 1.8% of all land within the U.S.
Canadian investors by far own the most land with 12.8 million acres.
Investors from the Netherlands, Italy, the U.K. and Germany combined own roughly as much land as Canadian investors.
Meanwhile, Chinese investors own slightly less than 1% of all foreign-held acres in the United States, according to the 2021 USDA report
But Rep. Friske said those are the type of investors he's most worried about.
"It's really the communists and socialists, the Marxist-type countries that we're trying to limit with this," Rep. Friske said.
The USDA report is roughly 270 pages of a lot of data, some of it focused right here in Michigan.
As of 2021, 5.8% of Michigan's landholdings was foreign held, almost half of that by Canada and the Netherlands combined.
But the report goes deeper than that, showing how much land in each county is as well.
Turns out, the wester Upper Peninsula counties lead the state in foreign landholdings, with much of it being forestland.
According to data, the trend in Michigan holds similar to the trend across the country.
Rep. Friske admitted that China isn't the biggest player in the game, but he claimed Chinese investors are the largest threat.
That's why he and other lawmakers across the country are proposing legislation similar to House Bill 4134.
"I know there's the Federal Government, you know, talks about this too," Rep. Friske said. "But they're obviously dragging their feet, not getting anything done. So, I think that's why you see the individual states leading the charge with this."
House Bill 4134 was just recently introduced in the legislature, and it has a long way to go before potentially becoming law.