Bill Gates-Linked Trust Probed For Buying Up Farmland In North Dakota
Bill Gates is the nation's biggest owner of farmland, and North Dakotans wonder if he is using a trust to buy land in their state
Mike Cohen via Getty Images for The New York Times

North Dakota officials have questions and residents are furious about a major land grab by a trust linked to billionaire and anti-meat zealot Bill Gates, the nation’s biggest owner of farmland.

The state bars corporations and limited liability companies from owning or even leasing farmlands or ranches and has other limits on trusts, yet the Red River Trust scooped up a 2,100-acre potato farm late last year for $13.5 million. State Attorney General Drew Wrigley wrote the Kansas-based trust on Tuesday asking what it plans to do with the land, AG Week reported.

“Our office needs to confirm how your company uses this land and whether this use meets any of the statutory exceptions, such as the business purpose exception, so that we may close this case and file it in our inactive files,” the letter stated.

Gates, the mega-rich software developer who wants people to trade meat for plant-based food, owns 242,000 acres of farmland, according to a study by Land Report. North Dakotans don’t want corporations squeezing out family farms and widely support a law barring them from buying up acreage.

“I’ve gotten a big earful on this from clear across the state, it’s not even from that neighborhood,” North Dakota Agricultural Commissioner Doug Goehring told KFYR-TV. “Those people are upset, but there are others that are just livid about this.”

Goehring said residents feel exploited by wealthy out-of-state people who buy up land in North Dakota “but do not necessarily share the state’s values.”

Red River Trust chief Peter Headley previously headed an agriculture investment platform for Gates, according to the New York Post.

Red River Trust bought Campbell Farms, a family potato farm founded in 1978 in Grafton, according to AG Week. The trust has 30 days to respond to Wrigley. It it is determined to be in violation of the state law, it would have to divest itself of the property within one year or pay fines.

Gates, who is worth more than $100 billion, said last year he wants wealthy countries to give up meat, adding that the government should “use regulation to totally shift the demand.”

“I do think all rich countries should move to 100% synthetic beef,” Gates said. “You can get used to the taste difference, and the claim is they’re going to make it taste even better over time.”

Gates, who is also active in pushing vaccines for various illnesses, including COVID, was divorced from his wife Melinda last year following reports he associated with Jeffrey Epstein, the pedophile sex trafficker who died mysteriously in a Manhattan jail while awaiting trial.

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