BISMARCK, N.D. (Legal Newsline) – Three farms and a nonprofit claim the state’s bans on corporate-owned farms that date back nearly a
century harm businesses, rather than offering protection.
North Dakota Farm Bureau Inc., Galegher Farms Inc., Brian
Gerrits and Breeze Dairy Group LLC filed a lawsuit June 2 in U.S. District Court
for the Southwestern Division of the District of North Dakota against State Attorney General Wayne Stenhjem challenging the North Dakota Anti-Corporate Farming
According to the complaint, the act limits the ability of
North Dakota farmers to attract investors while hampering interstate commerce
by prohibiting out-of-state ownership of farms. The suit also argues that the
regulations make it difficult for family members to inherit farms through the
exchange of shares of stock in a family-owned farms. Although the law has been amended several times since its 1932 inception, the plaintiffs claim it places an undue burden on multi-generational family farms.
The plaintiffs seek a declaration that the law is
unconstitutional and an injunction banning its enforcement. They are represented
by attorneys Sarah Andrews Herman and Claire Smith of Dorsey & Whitney LLP
U.S. District Court for the Southwestern Division of the
District of North Dakota Case number 1:16-cv-00137