A new report on the largest holders of private farmland in the United States reveals that Bill and Melinda Gates are atop the list, with the billionaire Seattle couple amassing 242,000 acres of land.
A Tri-City Herald report on the 2018 purchase of 14,500 acres of farmland in Benton County, Wash. - for a staggering $171 million - is what set The Land Report into digging further into Gates' holdings.
Gates also owns land in Arizona (25,750 acres), IL (17,940), MS (16,963), Washington (16,097), Florida (14,828), Idaho (9,233), in (9,136), OH (8,915), California (4,509), Colorado (2,270), MI (2,167), Wisconsin (1,188), Wyoming (975), North Carolina (874), Iowa (552), and New Mexico (1). Their farmland is held both directly and through Cascade Investment, a firm controlled by Gates to manage his investments, according to The Land Report.
While Gates is still the top farmland owner in the US, not all of the property he owns is farmland.
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Gates may own a considerable chunk of America's farmland, but he is not the largest landowner in the country. 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 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2017 had pledged $300 million over three years to support research to help low-income farmers in Asia and Africa adapt to climate change. Runners-up in The Land Report's rankings were the Offutt family, whose history in farming dates back to 1964, with 190,000 acres.
These investments included a stake in AutoNation, the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Mass., the Four Seasons in San Francisco and upward of 100,000 acres of farmland in various states, Land Report said, citing a 2014 profile of Larson in the Wall Street Journal. They own the brand behind Wonderful Pistachios, POM Wonderful, and Wonderful Halos Mandarins.
With 242,000 acres of farmland, the Gates family is now ahead of the rest of the top farmland owners in the country.
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