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Craighead County company connected to China



Jonesboro, Arkansas – Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders has requested the state’s attorney general to examine two enterprises, including one in Jonesboro, that possibly be violating state law.

According to Wednesday’s news release, Risever Machinery LLC in Craighead County and Jones Digital LLC near DeWitt “may have significant ties to China.”

The governor added that Jones Digital LLC might also have “significant ownership interest in digital asset and crypto-mining operations in other parts of the state under different names.”

Sanders has alerted Attorney General Tim Griffin’s office that the two firms may violate Act 636, which prevents foreign-party-controlled entities from possessing Arkansas land.

The conduct resulted to the governor compelling Syngenta to sell its land in Craighead County and pay a $280,000 fine.

Department of Agriculture Secretary Wes Ward issued the following letter to the AG’s office about Risever Machinery:

During the 2023 Regular Session of the Arkansas General Assembly, the state legislature passed Act 636 which amends the law concerning ownership and possession of real property; the law had an effective date of August 1, 2023. Act 636 provides that a “prohibited foreign-party controlled business” shall not acquire by grant, purchase, devise, descent, or otherwise any interest in public or private land in this state.
In accordance with Act 636, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture is directed to collect and analyze information concerning the unlawful sale or possession of agricultural land by prohibited foreign parties and report violations to the Arkansas Attorney General.
Since the passage of Act 636, one entity that has come to the attention of the Department is Risever Machinery LLC which has a facility in Craighead County. A review of Risever Machinery LLC’s ownership indicates that the entity has significant ties to China.
As of the date of this letter, China continues to be a country subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and is subject to the prohibitions of Act 636.
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture believes that Risever Machinery LLC may be operating in violation of Act 636. As a result, we are reporting the potential violations to your office and requesting that you utilize the authority granted under A.C.A. 18-11-704(c)(2) to determine if a violation of Act 636 has in fact occurred, and if so, commence appropriate legal action.
Wesley W. Ward, Secretary of Agriculture

In 2018, local and state politicians, along with company representatives from China, broke construction on Risever’s $20 million Jonesboro plant.

When it opened its doors in 2019, then-Governor Asa Hutchison termed it a “important step for Arkansas,” adding that it would allow Arkansas to buy from China.

“We’ve got two choices,” Hutchinson said. “We either manufacture this heavy construction material in China, or you manufacture it in the United States. As for me, I’d like to have this manufactured here.”

Risever produces machinery for firms including Caterpillar, Volvo, and Komatsu.


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