(RepublicanInformer.com)- The selling of prime property in North Dakota to a group connected to Bill Gates has stirred up emotions and led many to look into a statute passed during the Great Depression that was intended to safeguard family farms. It has prompted questions around whether or not the billionaire shares the values of the state.
Attorney General Drew Wrigley has requested that the trust that purchased the land explain how it would comply with antiquated legislation prohibiting corporate farming in the state.
A few notable exceptions make it illegal for corporations and limited liability entities of any kind to acquire or lease land used for farming or ranching.
Wrigley addressed a letter to the Red River Trust on Tuesday, requesting the organization, which has connections to the billionaire Bill Gates, to provide evidence that the company’s usage of the land does not violate the state’s Corporate Farming Laws.
The land trust has amassed six separate holdings in Pembina County.
According to Valley News Live, Agricultural Commissioner Doug Goehring said he’d gotten a big earful on this from across the state, not even from that neighborhood. Even though some folks are merely frustrated, others are incredibly furious about this.
In the letter, it was stated that under North Dakota law, there are some limitations on the capacity of trusts to possess farmland or ranchland. This was noted in the context of the letter.
The letter explained that “The Corporate or Limited Liability Company Farming Law contains specific exceptions,” such as allowing registered family farms and the use of the land for business reasons.
Corporations that are found to be in breach of this statute will be given one year to divest themselves of the land and will be liable to a civil penalty of one hundred thousand dollars.
The letter went on to say that “our office needs to confirm how your company uses this land and whether this use meets any of the statutory exceptions, such as the business purpose exception,” for us to be able to close this case and file it away in our static files. The business purpose exception is one example of a statutory exception.
Bill Gates owns 242,000 acres of farmland spread across 18 states, making him the most significant landowner in the United States of America as of January 2021.