Why is Bill Gates Buying Up So Much Farmland?


The Land Report said Bill Gates now owns the largest private farmland in the US. Gates, the fourth-richest person in the world, has roughly 242,000 acres of farmland.

Gates’ vast farmland earned him an appearance in the magazine that “provides news, information, and insight into America’s land for existing and potential landowners.”

The magnate beat out the family Offutt, who owns 190,000 acres in Minnesota. Steward and Lynda Resnick likewise has 190,000 acres of farmland. The Resnicks have a combined net worth of about $7.1 billion and own The Wonderful Company in California. The company controls bottled water company FIJI Water, POM Wonderful, Wonderful Halos, and Wonderful Pistachios.

Gates’ real estate portfolio also boasts having landholdings in 19 states. The Gates couple owns 69,071 acres in Louisiana, 20,588 acres in Nebraska, 47,927 acres in Arkansas, 16,963 acres in Mississippi, 17,940 acres in Illinois, 14,828 acres in Florida, and 16,097 acres in Washington, the report said.

Having a net worth of $120 billion, Bill purportedly procured the land directly through several third-party entities, mainly through Cascade Investment LLC.

The report stated that Michael Larson, who primarily operates through the said company, has managed the billionaire’s personal portfolio, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation holdings for 25 years now.

Cascade Investment LLC is an investment and holding company with the main office located in Kirkland, Washington. It has many shares in giant companies such as Canadian National Railway, Berkshire Hathaway, Ecolab, Coca-Cola FEMSA, and Waste Management.

In 2017, the holdings company purchased a “significant stake” in transitional land, 24,800 acres in size. Gates also invested $80 million in developing the Belmont suburb for “80,000 homes, 3,800 acres of industrial, office and retail space, 3,400 acres of open space and 470 acres for public schools.”

In the same year, the billionaire couple’s Foundation pledged $300 million for three years to African and Asian farmers “support agricultural research that will help the world’s poorest farmers better adapt to increasingly challenging growing conditions brought about by climate change, including rising temperatures, extreme weather patterns (droughts and floods), diseases, poor soil fertility, and attacks from crop pests.”

However, Gates is still far from the biggest landowner in the country. Billionaire businessman and philanthropist John Malone topped the magazine’s 100 largest landowners list in 2019, having 2.2 million acres.

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