WASHINGTON, D.C. — Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton introduced the Agricultural Intelligence Measures (AIM) Act on Wednesday.
The bill would establish an Office of Intelligence within the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This office would leverage the assets of the intelligence community to better protect U.S. agriculture from foreign threats posed by countries like China.
Click here to see the bill text.
Representative Rick Crawford introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month.
“The Chinese Communist Party wants to undermine vital American industries through sabotage and intellectual property theft—U.S. agriculture is no exception. Our bill will help safeguard the food and technology that our country depends on for its prosperity and freedom,” said Cotton.
“The powerhouse that is American agriculture is a product of years of research and serves as an example of our nation’s ingenuity. It is a national security imperative that we safeguard our agriculture sector from foreign threats such as espionage, intellectual theft, and biological attacks. The AIM Act and its companion bill in the Senate both play a critical role in taking a proactive approach to foreign attacks on our nation’s agriculture,” said Crawford.
According to the news release this was the background:
- In 2014, Chinese researchers were accused of stealing patented corn and later sentenced to prison.
- In 2018, a Chinese national was sentenced to 121 months in federal prison for attempting to steal rice research for China.
- In 2019, a Chinese national who worked at Monsanto was indicted on economic espionage charges.
- The USDA is currently investigating suspicious, unsolicited packages of seeds that appear to have been sent from China to the United States.