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Bill Gates’ land purchase triggers probe — Analysis

Trusts and corporations can’t own ranches or farmland in North Dakota, state authorities say

North Dakota’s attorney general has sent a letter to Red River Trust, an outfit linked to billionaire Bill Gates, over its recent purchase of a large potato farm. Attorney General Drew Wrigley’s office warned the trust of potential violations of state and federal law and asked for more information, it was confirmed on Wednesday.

Limited liability corporations and limited partnerships are both “prohibited from owningOr leasing farmland or ranchland in the state of North Dakota,” or “engaging in farming or ranching,” said the letter sent by Wrigley’s office sent a letter to Red River Trust’s offices in Kansas, the outlet AgWeek reported on Wednesday. 

The letter’s existence was confirmed by the Bismarck-based TV station KFYR, which published a copy of the first page. Campbell Farms in Grafton was also mailed a copy, which was dated June 21. AgWeek reported on June 13th that Red River purchased the company from Bill, Greg, and Tom Campbell in November 2021 and paid $13.5million for 2,100 acres.

It also provides for “certain limitations on the ability of trusts to own farmland or ranchland,”“Send the letter to Peter Headley (Red River trustee). “Our office needs to confirm how your company uses this land and whether this use meets any of the statutory exceptions.”

If Red River can show such an exemption, the AG’s office will close their probe, but if they are found violating the law, they need to sell the land within a year or face a penalty of “up to $100,000,”Conform to the letter.

Gates, who made his fortune at Microsoft, retired to pursue a variety of pet causes – from vaccines around the world to buying up land in the US – through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Gates suggested that his passion for agriculture was related to seeds and biofuel and advocated switching to synthetic meat to fight climate change.

He had more than 234,000 acres, or 97,000 hectares of, farmland, through a network made up of trusts, corporations and asset managers. LandRepomassnews.com called him becoming “America’s top farmland owner.”

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