Bill Gates now owns more farmland than anyone else in the United States, as the tech tycoon has quietly purchased 242,000 acres of farmland in several states across the country.
Gates is now America’s largest private farmland owner, with hundreds of thousands of acres spanning across 19 U.S. states, according to the Land Report.
The tech billionaire owns 69,071 acres in Louisiana, 47,927 acres in Arkansas, and 20,588 acres in Nebraska.
Gates also owns land in Arizona (25,750 acres), Illinois (17,940), Mississippi (16,963), Washington (16,097), Florida (14,828), Idaho (9,233), Indiana (9,136), Ohio (8,915), California (4,509), Colorado (2,270), Michigan (2,167), Wisconsin (1,188), Wyoming (975), North Carolina (874), Iowa (552), and New Mexico (1). Gates’ farmland now totals 242,000 acres.
While Gates is still the top farmland owner in the U.S., not all of the property he owns is farmland. As the Land Report notes, 24,800 acres of the land is transitional, located on the western edge of Phoenix, the tenth-largest metropolitan area in the country, and the most populous city in Arizona.
This is not Gates’ first time dabbling in agriculture. In 2008, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced $306 million in grants to promote high-yield, sustainable agriculture among smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, reports Forbes.
The report adds that while it’s not clear how Gates’ land is being utilized, the property could be used in a way that aligns with the foundation’s values, given that Cottonwood Ag Management — a subsidiary of Cascade Investment LLC, Gates’ personal investment vehicle — is a member of Leading Harvest, a nonprofit that promotes sustainable agriculture standards.
Gates may own a considerable chunk of America’s farmland, but he is not the largest landowner in the country. According to the Land Report’s list of 100 top American landowners, billionaire businessman John Malone owns 2.2 million acres of ranches and forests.
CNN founder Ted Turner is ranked number three with 2 million acres of ranch land, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is ranked number 25 with 420,000 acres -— much of which is located in west Texas.