Bill Gates: The Biggest Farmland Owner in America
New reports have revealed that Bill Gates is the single largest private holder of farmland in the United States.
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and the third-richest person in the world, has now emerged as the largest private owner of farmland in the US.
According to The Land Report, a magazine for land investors that tracks the biggest landowners in the nation, found that Gates’s portfolio comprises around 240,000 of farmland and almost 27,000 acres of other lands across 18 states.
Gates’s biggest holdings are in Louisiana and Arkansas, where he owns 69,071 acres and 47,927 acres respectively. He also owns a notable stake in 25,750 acres of transitional land on the west side of Phoenix, Arizona, which is currently being developed into a new suburb.
The renowned billionaire’s farmland purchases began as early as 2014 and have generally been made through Cascade Investment.
The purpose of Gates’s investments in farmland are not currently clear. When reached out to by The Land Report, Cascade declined to comment “other than to say that Cascade is very supportive of sustainable farming”. Gates has often spoken on the need for innovation to help agriculture become more sustainable, noting in a blog that the agriculture, forestry and land use sector are “responsible for 24% of all greenhouse gas emissions”.
The Bloomberg Billionaires’ Index estimates Gates’s net worth at $132 billion. Though he may be the largest farmland owner in the US, the country’s single largest landowner is Liberty Media chair John Malone, who owns 2.2 million acres of ranches and forests.
Also notable in The Land Report’s findings is Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who ranks as the 25th largest private landholder in the US with his ownership of 420,000 acres, predominantly in west Texas.