Billionaire Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, continues to buy huge farmlands in the United States. His latest purchase, in North Dakota, has angered farmers.
US justice authorizes Bill Gates to buy huge agricultural land
Bill Gates has been authorized by Republican State Attorney General Drew Wrigley to purchase massive farmland in North Dakota. The acquisition was not made easily since the tech mogul had to go through the law to buy these lands.
A North Dakota law, passed during the Depression to protect struggling family farms, prohibits corporations and certain other businesses from owning farmland.
Individual trusts, however, are allowed to buy farmland if they lease it to farmers, which the AP says is what Gates’ company plans to do. Thus, the controversial philanthropist was able to obtain the property.
Farmers opposed to Bill Gates’ purchase of huge farmland
A number of locals are less than happy with Bill Gates’ purchase of farmland. The billionaire does not have good press in the region. Many wonder about this purchase and the fact that the ultra-rich landowners do not share the same values as the population.
“I’ve heard it all over the state, not just in this neighborhood,” Doug Goehring, North Dakota’s commissioner of agriculture, said in an interview with local TV station KFYR. -TV last month.
“These people are upset, but there are others who are just livid about it.”
Is Bill Gates preparing to become a new lord of lands with peasants in his service?
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Bill Gates increases farmland purchases
In recent years, Bill Gates has been quietly buying farmland, which is an odd choice given his long career in tech. The billionaire is the largest private owner of farmland in the United States, with almost 1% of the country’s total farmland. Some media call him the “agricultural overlord”.
According to The Land Report, Bill Gates made substantial investments in at least 19 states across the country. Its largest farmland investments so far have been in Louisiana (28,000 hectares), Arkansas (19,500 hectares) and Nebraska (8,300 hectares).
Nebraska enthusiast Warren Buffet (and longtime friend of Bill Gates) also owns land. The old finance veteran recently said he doesn’t have any bitcoins but sees a lot of value in farmland.
“Apartments will allow rental and farms will produce food. What about bitcoin?” he added.
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Why are billionaires buying huge farmlands?
At a time when stock traders are investing in the virtual (Metavers, NFT, etc.), the heavyweights of finance are investing in physical values such as gold, water or agricultural land.
Bill Gates never really explained why he was buying up so much farmland, but it could have something to do with the climate and food crises. The billionaire believes in progress in research around chemical fertilizers to produce ever more. Other explanations would relate to environmental and climate issues.
“The agricultural sector is important. With more productive seeds, we can avoid deforestation and help Africa deal with the climatic difficulties it is already facing.”, explained the billionaire during a meeting organized on Reddit for the promotion of one of his books.
However, it is possible that, like the investment funds that attack the privatization of water, the billionaire is interested in the land that feeds millions of people. A monopoly could have dramatic consequences on the lives of Americans.
According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), food production will have to increase by 70% on average by 2050, and up to 100% in developing countries. However, at the same time, available agricultural land will tend to shrink and become a rare commodity.
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