Even though Bill Gates is no longer the richest person in the world, he has a new title. This new title is certainly not a joke, but Bill Gates is America’s largest farmland owner.
While Gates is the fourth wealthiest person in the world, the Microsoft co-founder is America’s largest farmland owner. Over the past years, Bill Gates has been buying massive pieces of farmland all over the country.
It might well be the case that Gates has never stepped foot onto a farm in his life. However, owning this staggering amount of farmland in the U.S. is insane.
According to The Land Report, his land portfolio boasts a massive 242,000 acres of farmland in the U.S. Additionally, Bill Gates owns land in only 18 states. Moreover, the top three states are Louisiana, Arkansas, and Nebraska. Within those states, he has 69,071 acres, 47,972 acres, and 20,588 acres respectively. He also has 25,750 acres of transitional land on the west side of Phoenix, Arizona. The land in Arizona is reportedly becoming a new suburb.
However, in his home state of Washington, he owns a 14,500-acre plot of land which cost him $171 million. That land in Washington also includes another 1,500 acres.
Bill Gates’s land is owned, directly and indirectly by Cascade Investment, which is a Seattle area firm. Cascade Investment also helps to manage his incredible $132 billion fortune.
What is Bill Gates Doing With All This Farmland?
It was evident that he was on track to become a massive farm landowner based on a 2014 report. In particular, the profile from Michael Larson, the chief investment officer of Cascade, gave the most insight. The report says that “at least 100,000 acres of farmland in California, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, and other states — or an area seven times bigger than Manhattan.”
However, it isn’t clear why Bill Gates has been devoting so much of his money to farmland. The investment firm refused to answer questions about the purpose of the farmland. But, again, The Land Report says that Cascade is in complete support of sustainable farming. This ideology is very much in line with how Gates uses his wealth. So, it makes sense that Gates could be doing experimental, environmentally-friendly farming.
In particular, Bill Gates focuses a lot of his time, energy, and money on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Even though it is mostly his wife’s project, he stands firmly behind the project. According to Gates, the foundation works consistently to “support country-led inclusive agricultural transformation across sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.”
But, the foundation also works to support non-profit organizations all over America. The foundation’s work in the U.S. doesn’t only support farming, its reach is incredibly broad.
Even though Bill Gates owns the most farmland in the U.S., he is not America’s largest landowner in general. John Malone holds that title with 2.2 million private acres across the country.