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House wants to add second cousins to farm ownership law

February 20, 2019

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

Representatives approved the bill 62-30 on Wednesday.

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 intent of the longstanding ban is to protect the state’s family farming heritage by barring big corporations from owning and operating farms.

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.