An entity linked to billionaire Bill Gates has reportedly purchased 2,100 acres of potato farmland in northern North Dakota angering local residents. The state is investigating the purchase of potato farmland by the Gates-linked trust, with the state’s Attorney General writing in a letter that it was “prohibited from owning or leasing farmland or ranchland in the state of North Dakota.”
The New York Post reports that public records recently cited by AgWeek reveal that an entity called Red River Trust with links to billionaire Bill Gates recently purchased 2,100 acres of potato farmland in northern North Dakota, prompting state officials to intervene after complaints from local residents.
The land was purchased from the owners of Campbell Farms, a potato farming group headquartered in Grafton, North Dakota, approximately 50 miles from the Canadian border. North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring spoke with KFYR, stating that the public reaction to the purchase has been negative.
“I’ve gotten 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.”
Breitbart News previously reported that Gates is America’s largest private owner of farmland. Breitbart News reporter Alana Mastrangelo wrote:
Gates is now America’s largest private farmland owner, with hundreds of thousands of acres spanning across 19 U.S. states, according to the Land Report.
The tech billionaire owns 69,071 acres in Louisiana, 47,927 acres in Arkansas, and 20,588 acres in Nebraska.
Gates also owns land in Arizona (25,750 acres), Illinois (17,940), Mississippi (16,963), Washington (16,097), Florida (14,828), Idaho (9,233), Indiana (9,136), Ohio (8,915), California (4,509), Colorado (2,270), Michigan (2,167), Wisconsin (1,188), Wyoming (975), North Carolina (874), Iowa (552), and New Mexico (1). Gates’ farmland now totals 242,000 acres.
While Gates is still the top farmland owner in the U.S., not all of the property he owns is farmland. As the Land Report notes, 24,800 acres of the land is transitional, located on the western edge of Phoenix, the tenth-largest metropolitan area in the country, and the most populous city in Arizona.
Earlier this week, North Dakota State Attorney General Drew Wrigley wrote a letter to Red River Trust, stating that its corporations and LLC’s were “prohibited from owning or leasing farmland or ranchland in the state of North Dakota.” Wrigley added that these entities were banned from “engaging in farming or ranching.”
“In addition, the law places certain limitations on the ability of trusts to own farmland or ranchland,” the letter said. “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, so that we may close this case and file it in our inactive files,” the letter added.
Read more at the New York Post here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address firstname.lastname@example.org