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Published May 13, 2010, 05:15 PM

Nonprofit must sell land in corporate farming case

The North Dakota Supreme Court has ruled a nonprofit group that develops duck nesting grounds must sell a 949-acre tract because of state restrictions on corporate ownership of agricultural land.

BISMARCK — The North Dakota Supreme Court has ruled a nonprofit group that develops duck nesting grounds must sell a 949-acre tract because of state restrictions on corporate ownership of agricultural land.

The opinion released today overturns a Southeast District Court ruling that allowed Crosslands Inc. to keep 527 of the 949 acres of land that the Minneapolis nonprofit bought in November 2003.

The high court said most of the tract is used as farm or ranch land, so Crosslands must sell all of it. It has a year to do so.

The state had argued that allowing Crosslands to keep the property would create a loophole in North Dakota’s anti-corporate farming law and allow nonprofits to buy up thousands of acres of wetlands and highly erodible cropland with no state oversight.

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