Bill Gates is America’s largest owner of farmland

26 Jan 2021

Already in possession of the title of the fourth richest person in the world, Bill Gates can now add another distinction to the list as the largest private farmland owner in the United States. Through his investment arm, the billionaire owns 242,000 of land across 18 states.

Gates’ largest holdings are in Louisiana (69,071 acres), Arkansas (47,927 acres) and Nebraska (20,588 acres). In addition to farmland, the tech billionaire also possesses 24,800 acres of transitional land on the western edge of Phoenix that is poised to become a new suburb as well as 1,234 acres of recreational land. In total, Gates owns 268,984 acres of land across the United States.

Bill Gates is America’s largest owner of farmland

According to research by The Land Report, Gates does not own the land, but rather has made the investments through his third party investment arm, Cascade Investments. The investment vehicle made its largest acquisition in 2017, purchasing a group of farmland assets owned by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. Other, smaller acquisitions have been made since that time.

As these large purchases of farmland are a private investment, there are no details associated with these transactions. Cascade declined to comment to both Forbes and The Land Report on the intended use of these land tracts, other than to say that the organization is very supportive of sustainable farming.

Indeed, sustainable agriculture has been of interest to the Gates family for years. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation invested $306 million in 2008 to promote sustainable agriculture among smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Since then, the foundation has further invested in the development of crops that are resistant to climate change through, a mission that is being advanced through the Gates Ag One nonprofit. The nonprofit operates with the mission to help “smallholder farmers adapt to climate change and make food production in low- and middle-income countries more productive, resilient, and sustainable.”

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