FARGO, N.D. (AP) — The sale of prime North Dakota farmland to a group tied to Bill Gates has stirred emotions over a Depression-era law meant to protect family farms and raised questions about whether the billionaire shares the state’s values.
State Attorney General Drew Wrigley has asked the trust that acquired the land to explain how it will satisfy the state’s archaic anti-corporate farming law.
It prohibits all corporations or limited liability companies from owning or leasing farmland or ranchland, with some exceptions.
Wrigley says the inquiry is a “matter of course” and not meant to stick “a finger in the eye of Bill Gates.”
The state’s agriculture commissioner, Doug Goehring, says he’s heard from people who “feel they are being exploited by the ultra-rich.”