Story at a glance

  • Bill and Melinda Gates have accumulated a massive farmland portfolio that stretches across 18 states.
  • Gates's largest holdings are in Louisiana, where the billionaire owns nearly 70,000 acres.
  • He and his wife also own 47,927 acres in Arkansas and 20,588 acres in Nebraska.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda Gates are now the largest private farmland owners in the U.S., according to The Land Report

The philanthropist, whose net worth of $121 billion makes him the fourth-richest person in the world, has quietly built up a massive farmland portfolio that spans across 18 states. According to The Land Report’s research, Gates has accumulated 242,000 acres of farmland that stretches from Washington to Florida. 


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Gates's largest holdings are in Louisiana, where the billionaire owns nearly 70,000 acres. He and his wife also own 47,927 acres in Arkansas and 20,588 acres in Nebraska. 

Additionally, Gates has a stake in more than 25,000 acres of transitional land on the west side of Phoenix that is being developed as a suburb. According to the Arizona Republic, plans for the suburb call for as many as 80,000 homes, 3,800 acres of industrial, official and retail space, 3,400 acres of open space and 470 acres for public schools. 

The Land Report says the farmland is held both directly by Gates and through Cascade Investment, a firm that manages his investments. It’s not clear exactly how the farmland is or will be used. 

The land ownership by the tech billionaire isn’t entirely surprising. In 2017, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced it would commit $300 million over three years to help low-income farmers in Africa and Asia better adapt to challenging growing conditions brought on by climate change. The foundation has also invested in the development of crops resistant to climate change. 


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Published on Jan 15, 2021