Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Sid Salter: Foreign Ownership of Mississippi Farmland Complicated by Market Realities

A Mississippi legislative study committee’s report on foreign farmland purchases in the state gained significant state and national attention in recent weeks. The 363-page study report, chaired by Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson, raises legitimate concerns about trends in foreign land acquisition and strategies to protect Mississippi’s interests moving forward.

To be clear, foreign ownership of U.S. land, water, water rights or other ownerships that threaten food availability or security is worthy of study and legislative action. A growing number of states are seeking limits or outright bans of additional foreign-owned farmlands.

Most have targeted traditional U.S. global political/economic adversaries like China or Russia. Neighboring Arkansas has been seen as a leader in these efforts – unveiling a new law in October that banned certain foreign owners and required a Chinese seed company to divest the company’s land.

Such laws gain almost immediate traction with conservatives and have for decades. About half of U.S. states have some laws restricting foreign land ownership – some on the books over 200 years. The Mississippi report contains copies of emails and letters from private citizens and political groups expressing support for expanding these laws in Mississippi.

But the report also essentially ignores a couple of germane facts. First, foreign ownership of agricultural lands has been a longstanding reality in Mississippi. China’s expansive land grabs in Africa and South America over the last 20 years gained attention over those two decades, but Mississippi has had foreign agricultural landowners for much longer.

The late Queen Elizabeth II was by her investment portfolio the owner of a 38,000-acre cotton plantation in Bolivar County, Mississippi. It was known as Queen’s Farm in Scott. At her passing in 2022, the Queen held a personal fortune estimated at $520 million, mostly real estate-based. The assets of the British monarchy as an institution (mostly held in the Crown Estate) are estimated at $88 billion.

As one might imagine, the monarchy held properties around the globe, including the Bolivar County holding. As of 1968, the Queen through investment in the British textile company Courtaulds owned an interest in the Mississippi cotton plantation that received a reported $1.5 million in U.S. crop subsidies.

The Queen’s interests in Courtaulds later dissolved into the company, and it was sold first to Monsanto and then ultimately to Bayer, a German multinational company.

Second, the Mississippi report ignores the fact that China and the “Chinese Communist Party” referenced in the report was in Fiscal Year 2022 – according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture - the primary export market for their U.S. corn, cotton and soybeans.

At $36 billion, China remains America’s largest single agricultural export customer. With one-fifth of the world’s population at 1.4 billion, China buys food and feedstuffs on global markets to offset the nation’s limited arable lands and the dual impacts of pollution and climate change.

Chinese imports of soybeans, corn, rice, wheat and edible oils drive a great deal of the country’s global shopping lists as does an increasing national appetite for meat and poultry – with the widespread availability of meat (particularly for middle-class Chinese citizens) being a relatively recent development.

But economic forecasts of increased ag exports should be good news for Mississippi’s $9.72 billion ag industry. China is the third leading trading partner for Mississippi exports behind Canada and Mexico, with $759 million in value in 2020 – with that number representing a 63.8% increase over the previous year. A study by Business Roundtable found that international trade supported 325,000 Mississippi jobs.

How Mississippi handles limits or even bans on foreign ownership of agricultural lands in our state should reflect these market influences and not be framed or guided by political xenophobia. In many cases, the people we fear owning the land across the fence are already our state’s substantial trading partners.

Sid Salter is a syndicated columnist. Contact him at


Anonymous said...

Not to worry as Pres. Joe Xiden has our back.

Anonymous said...

Why do they spend money on land? They already bought most of our politicians.

Anonymous said...

Let’s stop something easier and not give driver’s licenses to foreigners. Let’s stop allowing foreigners to buy cars and houses and rent them. Let’s stop letting them buy guns too. Wtf I saw an “asylum seeker” buying a dang AR15 at Bass Pro last week!

Anonymous said...

That's the wall that needs to be built!

Foreign billionaires have free reign to capture our industries, but all we hear about is Jose at the border.


Anonymous said...

Yup. Got to keep that racial division going so the races never unite against the rootless cosmopolitan globalist masters.

Anonymous said...

Keep feeding the chumps, I mean chimps. Do yall have any idea how much of corporate America is owned by private equity.....and the primary investors in private equity is sovereign wealth out of the middle east?

And yall are worried about a bunch of worthless Mississippi pasture land.

Anonymous said...

The conspiracy goes deeper than that. Many of those “wealth sovereigns” aren’t even run by Arabs (everyone knows MbS is about as Arab is SBF)

Anonymous said...

Next thing you know Big Hat Andy will be all wound up about Ghanian gold bar investments and how these type scams can fool anyone. Even the smartest people in Mississippi have been taken!

Anonymous said...

They can’t take it with em. It’s okay

Anonymous said...

Can't make this up!

Post up something like this:

Just when you thought the DHS scandal couldn't get any worse, Anna Wolfe breaks the news that TANF money wound up.... wait for it.... drum roll.... in Ghana. Yes, the good ole Nigerian Prince(ss) scam actually worked. How Mississippi.

And then the comments are off?!

Although Phil and friends would rather not read some of the comments that might be posted if comments were allowed.

Recent Comments

Search Jackson Jambalaya

Subscribe to JJ's Youtube channel


Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS