WASHINGTON, District of Columbia — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) said the amassing of land by billionaire leftist Bill Gates poses the “same concerns” as Chinese Communist Party-linked acquisition of U.S. land and food production assets.
Gates — who supports alternative foods and synthetic meat — has been purchasing thousands of acres of U.S. farmland and is currently America’s largest private owner of farmland.
When asked if she thinks Gates’s acquisitions pose a similar threat as the Chinese, Noem said, “I think the same concerns and questions should be addressed in all those situations.”
“I’ve talked for over 15 years that I’ve worked on agriculture policy about the fact that I believe it’s a national security issue,” she continued. “The reason that we’ve always had farm programs or different situations with policy in agriculture is because America embraced — for years — a food supply chain that we believed should be diversified to keep it competitive and to make sure that it was going to be affordable for everybody in this country to go to a grocery store and be able to buy their food, and that one person didn’t control it.”
“So when you see the kind of concentration that we see, for instance, in our meatpacking supply chain, or now in our fertilizer companies and supplies, where they come from other countries, and then we see large pieces of land getting bought up by one entity or another, and we start losing that diversity — that competition — that is very concerning,” she said.
While the Chinese have not yet attempted to amass land in South Dakota, according to Noem, the Mount Rushmore State does have a legal provision barring foreign countries from owning land over a certain threshold. Noem said her state’s legislature is looking at those provisions to make sure they address the foreign acquisition issues that other states are seeing.
Another “national security threat” Noem addressed was the border and immigration, calling the situation at the border “literally a war zone.”
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She said she has sent South Dakota National Guard as well as Lakota helicopters to help states like Texas and Arizona, but she said the issue looms large in her state as well.
“The drugs and human trafficking are devastating for our state,” she said. “I have nine Native American tribes, and they are sovereign governments. I don’t have any authority or jurisdiction on their lands. And a lot of the drugs and trafficking that’s happening that go out throughout the Midwest are being funneled through my tribal reservations.”
“So, there’s very little law and order there,” she continued. “There’s a lot of poverty and wide open spaces, and we’ve got some of the cartels that have a presence in South Dakota on our reservation land and a lot of those drugs are moving through those areas — and I have very little that I can do to address it.”
She did say, however, that she is threatening state contracts and licensing for NGOs and nonprofits that facilitate illegal immigration.
Noem was speaking to a roundtable of reporters at the Young America’s Foundation’s 44th annual National Conservative Student Conference in Washington, DC.
Breccan F. Thies is a reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @BreccanFThies.