Authorities in North Dakota have stepped in and blocked Bill Gates from illegally buying up a huge amount of farmland in the state, according to the attorney general’s office.
The office of North Dakota AG Drew Wrigley is demanding answers after Microsoft founder Gates tried to buy up the land via his group Red River Trust.
Wrigley’s office has ordered the group to provide evidence of how it intends to use the land amid allegations that the organization may be violating the state’s Corporate Farming Laws.
The trust had already acquired six parcels of land in Pembina County and was blocked as it continued trying to buy more.
“I’ve gotten a big earful on this from clear across the state, it’s not even from that neighborhood,” Agricultural Commissioner Doug Goehring said, according to Valley News Live.
“Those people are upset, but there are others that are just livid about this.”
The AG’s office sent a letter to Gates’ group that stipulates there are “certain limitations on the ability of trusts to own farmland or ranchland” under North Dakota law.
Bill Gates acquired six parcels of land in Pembina County. Tuesday, the office of the Attorney General sent out a letter asking the Red River Trust to confirm how the company plans to use the land and if it meets any of the exceptions to the North Dakota Corporate Farming Laws. pic.twitter.com/MGGFKV16mm
— DOCTOR FROM LONG ISLAND NEW YORK (@Doctorfromliny) June 22, 2022
“The Corporate or Limited Liability Company Farming Law has certain exceptions, such as permitting registered family farms or allowing the use of the land for business purposes,” the letter continues.
According to the letter, corporations that are in violation of this law will have a year to divest themselves of the land and are subject to a civil fine of $100,000.
“Our office needs to confirm how your company uses this land and whether this use meets any of the statutory exceptions, such as business purpose exceptions, such as the business purpose exception, so that we may close this case and file it in our inactive files,” the letter adds.
As of January 2021, Bill Gates is the largest owner of farmland in the U.S.
He owns a staggering 242,000 acres across 18 states, according to the Daily Mail.
Gates has refused to reveal why he has purchased so much farmland.