Bill Gates can no longer be the wealthiest man in the world, but he can assume a new title: the king of farmland in America.
By secretly buying up vast plots around the county, a new study claims, the billionaire Microsoft co-founder has become the largest owner of farmland in the United States.
According to The Land Survey, a journal for land investors that monitors the nation’s largest landowners, Gates’ portfolio comprises about 242,000 acres of farmland and approximately 27,000 acres of other lands across 19 states.
In Louisiana and Arkansas, where he owns 69,071 acres and 47,927 acres, namely, the outlet’s study found, the biggest chunks of Gates’ holdings are.
In his home state of Washington, he still currently owns about 16,000 acres, including a 14,500-acre tract in the Horse Heaven Hills area that was bought for approximately $171 million.
According to The Land Study, the land is owned both directly and indirectly by Cascade Investment, the Seattle-area company that Gates, the third richest man in the world with a net worth of $132 billion, set up to handle his massive wealth, according to Bloomberg.
In a 2014 Wall Street Journal profile of Michael Larson, the money manager who acts as the chief investment officer of Cascade, a hint at the large farm holdings of Gates emerged.
The piece noted that in California, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, and other states, the corporation controls “at least 100,000 acres of farmland, or an area seven times bigger than Manhattan.”
Why Gates has invested in so much farmland or how his tracts are being used at present is unclear. Cascade did not respond to a telephone message immediately on Friday, and the organization refused to comment on The Land Study “other than saying that Cascade is very supportive of sustainable agriculture,” the outlet said.
For the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the huge charity run by Gates and his wife, agriculture is also a main area of emphasis. “According to its website, the foundation seeks to “help country-led inclusive agricultural development across sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
Although Gates is the largest owner of farmland in America, he is far from being the largest landowner in the nation in general. According to The Land Survey, the crown belongs to Liberty Media Chairman John Malone, who has 2.2 million acres.