Microsoft founder Bill Gates has won legal approval to buy a massive swath of prime North Dakota farmland over the objections of some local residents and questions about the legality of the purchase.
North Dakota’s attorney general, a Republican, cleared the sale on June 29 after finding that the entity linked to Gates complies with a Depression-era law meant to protect family farms because the land is being leased back to farmers.
Red River Trust, a Texas-based entity with ties to Gates, in November bought some 2,100 acres of farmland in North Dakota, near the borders of Minnesota and Canada.
The move drew scrutiny from North Dakota’s top prosecutor in context of possible non-compliance with laws that prohibit corporations or limited liability companies from owning farmland or ranchland, but allow individual trusts to own the land if it is leased to farmers. Read more…