The Red River Trust, a Bill Gates Linked Group, has the North Dakota Attorney General sending out letters asking them to justify a recent purchase of farmland in the state.
Per AgWeek: Public deeds show the transaction totals about $13.5 million, with a rough average price in two counties of $6,400 per acre. Pembina County transfers break down to about $6,600 per acre. The Walsh County documents are complicated by river boundaries, but the sale price calculates to about $6,000.
The Pembina records show “grantors” (sellers) are brothers “William T. (‘’Bill”) Campbell, a married individual, Gregory T. (‘Greg”) Campbell, a married individual and Thomas S. (“Tom”) Campbell, a single individual.” Agweek left phone messages, emails and texts for Tom and Greg and visited offices of Bill at Campbell Properties, Fargo, without a response.
The mostly non-irrigated land on Nov. 2 and 3, 2021, was transferred to Red River Trust, with trustee Peter Headley. The trust is located 8789 Penrose Lane, Suite, 400, Lenexa, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City, Kansas. That’s the same address as Cottonwood Ag, or Cottonwood Farms, and Oak River Farms/Midwest.
This prompted the AG from North Dakota, Drew Wrigley, to send a letter asking Red River Trust to prove that the company’s use of the land does not violate the state’s Corporate Farming Laws. Corporations and limited liability companies are prohibited from owning or leasing farm or ranchland in North Dakota.
The specific law that is mentioned is:
10-06.1-02. Farming or ranching by corporations and limited liability companies
All corporations and limited liability companies, except as otherwise provided in this chapter,
are prohibited from owning or leasing land used for farming or ranching and from engaging in
the business of farming or ranching. A corporation or a limited liability company may be a
partner in a partnership that is in the business of farming or ranching only if that corporation or
limited liability company complies with this chapter
North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring told KFYR that public reaction to the purchase has been largely negative.
“I’ve gotten a big earful on this from clear across the state, it’s not even from that neighborhood,” said Goehring.
“Those people are upset, but there are others that are just livid about this.”
This isn’t the only property that Bill Gates has quietly acquired. He has amassed nearly 270,000 acres of farmland across the United States according to the AP.
The Microsoft co-founder is considered the largest private owner of farmland in the country with some 269,000 acres across dozens of states, according to last year’s edition of the Land Report 100, an annual survey of the nation’s largest landowners.
The trustee of Red River Trust is Peter Headley, who identifies himself on his LinkedIn page as head of agriculture investment management at Investment Management Co. A 2020 article by NFU Mutual Charitable Trust claimed that Headley once headed an entity called “Cottonwood,” which was described as an “ag-investment platform” for Bill and Melinda Gates.