Bill Gates Farmland: Why Is the Billionaire Buying So Much? – Popular Mechanics

  • Bill Gates owns a ton of farmland in the United States—as in, about 270,000 acres.
  • That makes him the largest landowner in the U.S.
  • Stats show agriculture is a pretty good investment for billionaires.

Bill Gates and conspiracy theories go together like peanut butter and jelly. The billionaire can’t seem to do anything without drawing the conspiratorial ire of online netizens. One of the more colorful theories pertains to Gates’s strange interest in U.S. agriculture, with rumors that the former Microsoft CEO owns upward of 80 percent of farmland in the United States.

Amazing, if true—but it’s extremely not. In a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) last week, Gates once again fielded a question pertaining to his AG holdings and stated that he actually only owns 1/4000 of all U.S. farmland, or about 270,000 acres spread across 18 different states. Although nowhere near 80 percent of U.S. farmland, it’s still a little more than one-third of the state of Rhode Island, a surprising amount for one person and enough to make Gates the largest landowner in the U.S.

So why does Bill Gates, and other billionaires like him, keep buying up so much farmland?

Some Things Bill Gates Is Doing

Some experts have pointed to Gates’s well-known sustainability and green tech initiatives as a possible reason, but during an earlier Reddit AMA in 2021, Gates said, “my investment group chose to do this. It is not connected to climate.” That’s because the old adage goes: “Buy land—they aren’t making it anymore.” (Which volcanologists know isn’t exactly true, but you get the idea).

Starting in 2013, Gates began investing his billions (through the firm Cascade Investment) in agriculture because of its steady increase in value and low volatility. According to Mother Jones, the average price of farmland increased six times from 1940 to 2015, and the trend is likely to continue as the amount of arable land in the U.S. continues to shrink from climate-related pressures.

However, this practice of buying up agricultural land predates Bill Gates and has been a popular investment for the super-rich since at least the early 2000s. The financial crisis …….


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