The couple Bill and Melinda Gates now own almost 100,000 hectares of arable land in various regions of the USA. According to the latest data from The Land Report, the inventory is distributed across 18 states. This is the largest accumulation of agricultural land in the hands of private individuals.
Gates has the largest inventory of arable land in Louisiana at 28,000 acres. Arkansas and Nebraska follow with 20,000 and 8,300 acres, respectively. In addition to the purely agricultural land, Gates also owns 10,400 acres of land in Phoenix, Arizona, which is currently being converted from arable land to building land for a new suburban area.
For most of the land, however, Gates and his wife are not directly in the land register. Rather, they hold the space through investment companies like Cascade Investments, which manage and increase the family’s assets. In addition to agricultural land, Cascade also owns shares in Ecolab, a food safety specialist, the used car dealer Vroom and the Canadian railroad company.
In general, land ownership serves as a pure speculative object. That is not surprising. After all, agricultural land has now become a coveted commodity in numerous countries, as large areas, in particular, can be managed industrially in a highly profitable manner.
At least Gates and his wife do not want to be accused of wanting to do as good as possible with their foundation and then promote problematic structures in agriculture. The Cascade subsidiary Cottonwood Ag Management, which mainly manages the land, is a member of the Leading Harvest organization, which promotes sustainable and ecological agriculture.
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