Bill Gates has just received legal approval for the controversial purchase of thousands of acres of North Dakota farmland, despite pushback from numerous state residents.
Here’s what Daily Mail reported:
Bill Gates has won his legal approval to buy a huge swath of North Dakota farmland worth $13.5M after an outcry from residents who say they are being exploited by the ultra-rich.
The state’s Republican Attorney General Drew Wrigley had inquired into the land sale, and on Wednesday issued a letter saying the transaction complied with an archaic anti-corporate farming law.
The Depression-era law prohibits corporations or limited liability companies from owning farmland or ranchland, but allows individual trusts to own the land if it is leased to farmers, which Gates intends to do.
AgWeek cited the public records that revealed how a potato farming company named Campbell Farms sold the 2100 acres of land to the Gates-affiliated Red River Trust for $13.5 million.
Gates currently is the largest owner of farmland in the US with 268,984 acres of multi-use land across 19 states.
In reaction to the recent purchase legal issues and worries have arisen due to fears that extremely wealthy landowners will not be considerate of the state’s values.
Agriculture commissioner for North Dakota, Doug Goehring, stated that most people have had negative reactions to the purchase– “upset” and others were “livid.”
“I’ve got a big earful on this from clear across the state, it’s not even from that neighborhood,” said Goehring.
“Those people are upset, but there are others that are just livid about this.”
The Mail shared that in 2018 a federal judge approved the law following a conservative farm group arguing that it limits business options for producers in addition to inhibiting interstate commerce.
The law states that If the land is required “for residential or commercial development; the siting of buildings, plants, facilities, industrial parks, or similar business or industrial purposes of the corporation or limited liability company; or for uses supportive of or ancillary to adjacent non-agricultural land for the benefit of both land parcels,” the law exempts corporations from the ownership restriction.
North Dakota Republican Governor Doug Burgum, a former Microsoft executive whose campaign received $100,000 from Microsoft co-founder Gates when Burgum had first won election back in 2016.
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