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Republican lawmaker demands Bill Gates testifies before agriculture committee over his farmland purchases

Kate Duffy   

Republican lawmaker demands Bill Gates testifies before agriculture committee over his farmland purchases
  • Rep. Dusty Johnson of South Dakota demanded Bill Gates testify over his farmland purchases.
  • He told the House Agriculture Committee it shouldn't ignore the amount of farmland Gates owns.

A Republican lawmaker demanded that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates testify before an agriculture committee over his US farmland purchases.

Rep. Dusty Johnson of South Dakota wrote a letter on Wednesday to the House Agriculture Committee chairman David Scott, asking him to call the billionaire philanthropist to give evidence about his acquisitions, according to a copy of the letter reported by Fox News.

Gates owned 242,000 acres of farmland as of early 2021, according to the Land Report. He spent $13.5 million in November buying about 2,100 acres in northeast North Dakota, angering locals.

"I believe that Mr Gates' holdings across much of our nation is a significant portion that the committee should not ignore," Johnson wrote in the letter to Scott.

"The committee should be interested in Mr Gates' ownership and plans for his acreage, as he has been a leading voice in the push for 'synthetic meat'," Johnson wrote. "In 2021, Mr Gates was quoted to say 'all rich countries should move to 100 percent synthetic beef' to combat climate change."

Johnson tweeted he was "curious" about Gates' plans for his farmland since the billionaire said in the past that people in countries such as America shouldn't eat red meat.

"How are his land purchases related to those aspirations?" Johnson tweeted.

Representatives for Gates did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gates' recent $13.5 million purchase of the farmland in North Dakota was cleared by the state's attorney-general who said it complied with an archaic Depression-era law, The Associated Press reported.

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