Saturday, June 25, 2022

Locals ‘flaming’ in purchase of Bill Gates’ North Dakota farm: Officials

An organization with links to billionaire Bill Gates farmed 2,100 acres of potatoes in northern North Dakota – after complaints from local residents prompted the state’s top prosecutor to intervene.

Public records cited by AgWeek show that the Gates-linked Red River Trust purchased the farm from the owners of Campbell Farms, a potato farming group headquartered in Grafton, North Dakota, about 50 miles from the Canadian border. Is.

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Gohring told KFYR that the public reaction to the purchase has been largely negative.

“I’ve gotten a huge attention on this from across the state, it’s not even from that neighborhood,” Gohring said.

“Those people are upset, but there are others who are worried about it.”

According to the Associated Press, Gates, the billionaire tech mogul and philanthropist whose net worth was estimated at $113 billion by Bloomberg, has quietly taken over about 270,000 acres of agricultural land across the country.

The Microsoft co-founder is considered the largest private owner of agricultural land in the country, with 269,000 acres in dozens of states, according to last year’s edition of Land Report 100, an annual survey of the nation’s largest landlords.

Bill Gates bought 2,100 acres of potato farming land in northern North Dakota.
NY Post
Gates is said to have about 270,000 acres of agricultural land across the country.
Gates is said to have about 270,000 acres of agricultural land across the country.
TIME. Getty Images for

The trustee of Red River Trust is Peter Headley, who identifies himself on his LinkedIn page as Head of Agricultural Investment Management at Investment Management Company. A 2020 article by NFU Mutual Charitable Trust claims that Headley once headed an entity called “Cottonwood”. Described as an “ag-investing platform” for Bill and Melinda Gates.

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Earlier this week, North Dakota State Attorney General Drew Wrigley wrote a letter to the Red River Trust, which cares for Headley, notifying that corporations and limited liability companies “are required to have a farm or ranch in the state of North Dakota.” was prohibited from owning or leasing.”

Wrigley wrote that these entities were also barred from “engaging in farming or animal husbandry”.

An entity affiliated with Bill Gates has purchased large-scale agricultural land in Pembina County, North Dakota.
An entity affiliated with Bill Gates has purchased large-scale agricultural land in Pembina County, North Dakota.
Google Earth

“In addition, the law imposes certain limits on the ability of trusts to own agricultural land or farmland,” the letter said.

The land, much of which is unirrigated, was transferred to the Red River Trust on November 2 and November 3 last year. The Red River Trust filed the paperwork with the office of the Secretary of State for North Dakota on February 15 of this year. The institution shares the same address as Campbell Farms.

The Trust and Headley were given 30 days to respond to the letter.

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North Dakota's top law enforcement officer, Attorney General Drew Wrigley
North Dakota’s top law enforcement official, Attorney General Drew Wrigley, sent a letter to the entity linked to Gates warning that the purchase of the ranch could be illegal.
Associated Press

“Our office needs to confirm how your company uses this land and whether this use meets any statutory exceptions, such as business purpose exceptions, so that we can close the case and treat it as our own.” inactive files,” the letter said.

Gates said in an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit last year that his “investment group” was behind the purchase, and suggested it was linked to seed and biofuel development.

“The agriculture sector is important,” he wrote. “With more productive seeds we can avoid deforestation and help Africa deal with the climate difficulty they already face. It is not clear how cheap biofuels can be but If they are cheap it could solve aviation and truck emissions.

According to the North Dakota Corporate or Limited Liability Company Farming Law, “there are some exceptions, such as allowing registered family farms or allowing the use of land for commercial purposes.”

Wrigley’s office said it had “come to our attention” that the Red River Trust “must have acquired land for farming or ranching in Pembina County on November 4, 2021.”

A corporation or LLC has up to one year to liquidate itself from the land or face fines “up to $100,000” according to the letter “found in violation” of the law.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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