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Burgum signs bill to expand farm ownership

April 18, 2019 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has signed 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.

Burgum signed the bill Wednesday night.

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