Legislature passes bill to expand farm ownership

April 5, 2019

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Legislature has endorsed a bill that would amend the state’s Depression-era anti-corporate farming law by allowing second cousins in the mix of ownership.

The law dates to 1932, when it was put on the ballot as an initiated measure and approved by voters. It allows corporations with as many as 15 shareholders to own farms or ranches, as long as the shareholders are related.

The House bill passed Friday in the Senate adds second cousins to the list of kin. It now goes to Gov. Doug Burgum.

The North Dakota Farmers Union, the state’s largest farm group, opposes the measure. The group says adding more kin who can legally form a corporation or a limited liability corporation weakens the law.