Former Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway board member Bill Gates has been granted permission to purchase a further 2100 acres of farmland in North Dakota, despite protests from the locals.
Gates currently owns nearly 270,000 acres of land across the US. As of 2021, Gates’s largest areas of land in the U.S. included 69,071 acres in Louisiana, 47,927 acres in Arkansas, 25,750 acres in Arizona, 20,588 acres in Nebraska and 16,097 in Washington state, The Daily Mail reports.
Despite Gates’s sizeable chunk of land, he doesn’t make the top 100 landowners in the US. Number one on the list is Liberty Media chairman, John Malone with 2.2 million acres.
North Dakota’s Agriculture Commissioner, Republican Doug hit out at the decision to allow Gates to buy more land and said his constituents feel they are being taken advantage of by the ultra-rich who will buy land in the state, but whose values are not conducive to that of the state.
“I’ve gotten a big earful on this from clear across the state, it’s not even from that neighborhood,” Goehring told KFYR. “Those people are upset, but there are others that are just livid about this.”
Gates’s purchase of the land did comply with a very old anti-corporate farming law. The law, which was introduced during the great depression, bars any corporation or limited liability companies (LLC) from owning farmland or ranchland, but permits individual trusts to own the land on the condition that it is leased to famers. Gates has stated that this is his intention.
There is one loophole for Corporations to duck the ownership ban. The land must be essential “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 nonagricultural land for the benefit of both land parcels,” the law reads.
In November 2021, The Daily Mail reported that Gates shopped “hundreds of acres of farmland” in Turkey. It is not clear whether he bought any or not.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK POST
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