The Myth of the Twentieth Century guys mentioned near the end of the podcast a story about a group of Chinese nationals coming over to America and making extensive efforts to steal seed and perhaps map out corn fields in the Midwest.
I think this is, as has often been the case, another example of China fighting an old fight.
Certainly, genetically alter crops are a sort of innovation, but we already have plenty of evidence that our over-dependence on them- and on corn, soy beans, etc... is not good.
Government interference in agriculture keeps us stuck on a path we've been on since the World wars, yet all indications point to a need to end heavily monocropping and move into restoring biomes. The genetically altered, heavily subsidized crops are ultimately a dead end. We can certainly reach parity in production, and probably increase over all production with a larger number of crops- and the North American grasslands can produce a massive amount of beef and other ruminant animals. Plenty of food, and we get to repair our ecosystems too.
Now, maybe China is studying this to help it become a dead end faster. It wouldn't make much sense for them to attack our food supply though- we have been the bread basket for Communists since there were Communists. The Chinese communists seem to have figured out how not to do some of the dumbest things various commies have done, but it's still a huge country with a lot of mouth to feed. It is most likely these surveys of Midwestern farms are an attempt to copy, not destroy. They still have enough disruptions in their own food supply for them to want American supplies available.
This is like spending a lot of time and energy trying to figure out how to make the old VHS videotapes while there's plenty of better tech lying around.