Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, and philanthropist owns 242,000 acres of farmland in the United States, making him the largest owner of private farmland, a study found by The Land Survey.
According to The Land Reports, Bill Gates, whose net worth of nearly $121 billion makes him the fourth-richest person in the world, and his wife, Melinda Gates, hold a vast farmland portfolio spanning more than a dozen states.
The study said the largest holdings of the Gates family are in Louisiana (69,071 acres), Arkansas (47,927 acres), and Nebraska (20,588 acres).
According to The Land Study, the farmland is owned both directly and by Cascade Investment, a firm operated by Gates to manage his investments.
In 2017, the Arizona Republic announced that about 25,000 acres near Phoenix were being converted into a suburb with land for 80,000 homes; more than 4,000 acres for classrooms, offices, and stores; and 3,400 acres of open space. Cascade Investment bought a “significant stake.”
Gates’ possession of farmland isn’t completely shocking. In 2017, $300 million over three years was pledged by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fund research to help low-income farmers in Asia and Africa respond to climate change.
The Gates Foundation announced the following year that it would spend $40 million in research to help breed chickens that lay eggs and cows of better quality that produce more milk for farms in South Asia and Africa.
The Offutt family, whose farming history dates back to 1964, with 190,000 acres, were the runners-up in The Land Report’s rankings.
According to The Land Reports, Stewart and Lynda Resnick, the cofounders of the Wonderful Company investment firm, also own 190,000 acres of farmland in the US. The brand behind Great Pistachios, POM Wonderful, and Wonderful Halos Mandarins is owned by them.