Billionaire Bill Gates is a well-known personality world-wide, but now he is also America’s farmland king. The Microsoft co-founder has become the largest owner of farmland in the US by quietly buying up massive plots across the county.
Gates’ portfolio comprises about 242,000 acres of farmland and nearly 27,000 acres of other land across 19 states, according to The Land Report, which is a magazine for land investors that tracks the biggest US landowners.
The biggest chunks of Gates’ holdings are in Louisiana and Arkansas, where he owns 69,071 acres and 47,927 acres, respectively, the outlet’s research found. He also reportedly owns about 16,000 acres in his home state of Washington, including a 14,500-acre tract in the Horse Heaven Hills region that was purchased for nearly $171 million.
It’s uncertain why Gates has invested in so much farmland or how his tracts are currently being used, but agriculture is a key focus area for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the charity run by Gates and his wife. The foundation aims to “support country-led inclusive agricultural transformation across sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia,” according to its website.
While Gates is America’s biggest farmland owner, he’s far from being the nation’s largest landowner in general. That crown belongs to Liberty Media chairman John Malone, who has 2.2 million acres.
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