The extant explanations of agricultural protection centers around domestic factors such as interest group politics within countries. Relatively little research effort has been paid to factors relating to conflictual international relations. The paper considers the state as a major decision-making unit and inter-state relations as an additional force shaping agricultural protectionism. The paper pursues two objectives: (i) developing a theory concerning states’ behavior in terms of protecting their agricultural sectors from foreign competition and promoting domestic agriculture; and (ii) developing empirical models to test the theory. The theory highlights inter-state conflicts and competition as a fundamental force driving agricultural protection that would be designed to promote domestic agricultural production capacity that would fit each state’s economic, political, and ecological conditions. The empirical models testing the theory would shed light on the role of the state’s desire to promote national food security in explaining agricultural protectionism in developed and developing countries.