Bill Gates’ purchase of a large patch of land in North Dakota has sparked fury and conspiracy theories on social media after the Microsoft billionaire secured legal approval to purchase the 2,100 acres of farmland in the state last week.
Having already amassed nearly 270,000 acres of farmland across the country, Gates, who is one of the richest men in the world, is the largest private owner of farmland in America.
On June 30, Gates won the approval of the North Dakota Attorney General to buy the farmland for $13.5 million from potato growers Campbell Farms in the northeast of the state.
The state’s Republican Attorney General Drew Wrigley said that the takeover complies with a Depression-era law meant to protect family farms because the land was being leased back to farmers.
North Dakota’s Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring had previously told local station KFYR-TV that locals were livid at the news and people across the state were “upset.” Newsweek has reached out to Goehring for comment.
The developments have also spurred fury and questioning on social media.
Charlie Kirk, founder and president of Turning Point USA, a conservative student movement, tweeted: “Bill Gates just bought 2,100 acres of farmland in North Dakota, adding to the 270,000 acres he inexplicably owns throughout the US. China also just bought 300 acres there, adding to the 192,000 acres of US Soil in their portfolio …and no one seems to care. Why do we allow this?”
Bill Gates just bought 2,100 acres of farmland in North Dakota, adding to the 270,000 acres he inexplicably owns throughout the US
China also just bought 300 acres there, adding to the 192,000 acres of US Soil in their portfolio
…and no one seems to care
Why do we allow this?
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) July 6, 2022
Kirk is referring to Fufeng Group, a bio-fermentation manufacturer based in Shandong, China, who said last fall that it would be buying some 300 acres of farmland in North Forks, North Dakota farmland.
Responding to the news about Gates buying farmland, Jeffrey Ventre, a training psychiatrist, tweeted: “Bill Gates just won legal approval to buy 2,100 acres of North Dakota farmland worth $13.5M.
“This isn’t the 1st time; he’s amassed nearly 270k acres of farmland & is already the largest private owner of farmland in America #LateStageCapitalism #systemfail”
“This can’t be good. He’s all about reducing the population and playing god. Don’t trust,” Twitter user Mtaylor tweeted.
The Conservative Tree House, a blog that has regularly reported on unfounded conspiracy theories, questioned why “an entrenched climate change ideologue who wants to change food production” would be purchasing more than a quarter of a million acres of farmland.
Farmland is often a sought-after asset that increases in value because there is a constant demand for food and produces grown on the land.
Newsweek has reached out to the North Dakota attorney general’s office and governor’s office for comment.