North Dakota Town Stands Up to China, Blocks Construction of Corn Mill Near Sensitive Air Force Base


Between buying up valuable American farmland and flying surveillance crafts over the country without consequence, China’s footprint in the United States has become far too large for many Americans, and some have decided to take a stand.

After a long, drawn-out process that lasted over a year, Mayor Brandon Bochenski of Grand Forks, North Dakota, was finally able to obtain answers from the U.S. government regarding whether or not a Chinese-backed corn mill project, slated to be operational concerningly close to Grand Forks Air Force Base, was a national security risk and overall bad idea.

The government finally agreed that it did pose a national security risk, which gave the mayor the ammo he needed to put the kibosh on it.

This week, as the Grand Forks City Council voted to crush the Fufeng Group corn mill project, residents in attendance cheered. Some chanted, “USA! USA!”

Fox Business reported that the city council shut the project down in a unanimous 5-0 decision on Monday evening. The Chinese-owned group still legally owns the roughly 300 acres it purchased for the project but will not be able to proceed with its original plans.

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Bochenski said his initial inquiries regarding the proposed corn mill and its proximity to the Air Force base were practically brushed off.

“We initially reached out to the FBI, then the [Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States] committee. They really came forth with a lackluster answer that left a lot of questions that needed to be answered,” Bochenski said, according to Fox News.

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Then, Air Force Assistant Secretary Andrew Hunter sent a letter to North Dakota’s senators expressing his concern that the project would pose a national security risk given its 12-mile proximity to the Air Force base.

“The Department’s view is unambiguous: the proposed project presents a significant threat to national security with both near- and long-term risks of significant impacts to our operations in the area,” Hunter wrote.

In July, CNBC reported that Grand Forks Air Force Base is home to “some of the nation’s most sensitive military drone technology.” The outlet added that the base houses a brand-new “space networking center,” which was described by a North Dakota senator as the “backbone” of all global U.S. military communications.

It doesn’t take a military analyst to understand why we shouldn’t let our No. 1 global adversary buy up our land and do business so close to sensitive military infrastructure.

The project would have reportedly created hundreds of jobs and significantly increased tax revenues for the North Dakota city. Still, the potential national security costs clearly outweighed all that and then some.

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Chinese-owned companies have steadily increased their U.S. farmland holdings over the years. A September report from The Wall Street Journal indicated that “Chinese ownership of U.S. farmland leapt more than 20-fold in a decade, from $81 million in 2010 to $1.8 billion in 2020.”

That’s not OK. And it needs to stop sooner rather than later.

Good on the citizen activists, city leaders and mayor of Grand Forks for following through and ensuring that communist China won’t receive close-up access to a critical U.S. military base.

Hopefully, these types of Chinese projects will be stopped more often down the road. Grand Forks proved that it can be done with some persistence and elbow grease.

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Ryan Ledendecker is a former writer for The Western Journal.
Ryan Ledendecker is a former writer for The Western Journal.
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