In recent years, both Sen. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, and Gov. Mike Parson have voted to allow foreign corporations to control huge portions of Missouri farmland.

With their help, Missouri farmers have been under siege by the corporatization of our food system led by out-of-state and foreign industrial agriculture companies and their lobbyists.

In 2013, both former Rep. Rowden and then-Sen. Parson (now senator and governor respectively) voted to allow up to 289,000 acres of Missouri farmland to be bought and controlled by foreign corporations.

This major change was quietly added to a large omnibus bill at the end of the 2013 legislative session. Not coincidentally, two weeks later, Smithfield Foods was purchased by a large Chinese meatpacker and instantly acquired over 41,000 acres of Missouri farmland.

In 2015, both Rowden and Parson voted to pass legislation that created a loophole and opened up Missouri farmland to virtually unlimited foreign corporate ownership .

The COVID-19 outbreak has clearly demonstrated how vulnerable and ill-prepared our agribusinesses and corporations were to a national crisis. Having foreign corporate control of farmland and businesses only exacerbates the consequences.

It is unacceptable for elected officials to support unlimited foreign ownership of Missouri farmland.

Elected officials must be stopped from throwing their support to foreign groups. Support must be given to Missouri farmers and Missouri agribusiness owners. Vote to replace Sen. Rowden and Gov. Parson.

Susan Williams is a resident of Clarksburg, Missouri.

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