After Years of Secretly Buying Up Land, Bill Gates Becomes Biggest Private Owner of Farmland in America


Bill Gates, the eccentric Microsoft co-founder who has no college degree but a lot of money — and interest in current events — is now the country’s largest private owner of farmland, and nobody seems to know why.

According to The Land Report, which tracks statistics on major property ownership, Gates and his wife, Melinda, over the years have quietly purchased 242,000 acres of farmland, and an additional 27,000 acres of non-farmland, across 19 states.

His U.S. real-estate portfolio includes swaths of fertile lands from the Pacific Northwest to the Southeast.

Gates owns about 16,000 acres of lush plots in Washington state, 69,000 acres in Louisiana and 48,000 in Arkansas. He recently paid a hefty price tag of roughly $171 million for 14,500 acres in the Evergreen State, according to the Tri-City Herald.

While the website for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation states that the enterprise has a significant interest in “agricultural development,” it isn’t clear if any of the land owned by the techie is being used for that purpose.

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Blurbs on the foundation’s website also offer little clarity on what any of that even means.

“We focus on four strategic goals that help drive agricultural transformation and that ensure this transformation is inclusive: increase agricultural productivity for smallholder farmers; increase smallholder farmer household income; increase equitable consumption of a safe, affordable, nutritious diet year-round; and increase women’s empowerment in agriculture,” the site says.

“Inclusive agricultural transformation is productivity-led growth in the smallholder sector that spurs rural sector economic growth and delivers broad and accelerated impacts favoring the poor, especially women. We invest in this sector because economic growth that focuses on agriculture and that increases the incomes of smallholder farmers is particularly effective in reducing poverty, more so than investments in other sectors,” the site adds.

The site goes on to talk about climate change, gender disparities and touches a lot on the agricultural situation in Africa. But people who are reading the news that the guy behind Windows now is the largest farmer/potential non-farmer in the country don’t quite know what to think.

Speculation about Gates’ activities is endless:

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Thanks to the billionaire’s decision to attach himself to questionable philanthropic causes and COVID research and lockdowns in the past year, the news is taking a lot of people by surprise — and perhaps rightfully so.

Gates, after all, is the guy who is proposing to shoot a bunch of sun-reflecting particles into the stratosphere over Sweden in order to dim the sun in a “geoengineering” project, according to Reuters.

The news service last month connected Gates to a Harvard University experiment that seeks to cool the Earth. The Swedish Space Corporation has agreed to help Harvard researchers launch a balloon near the Arctic town of Kiruna in June.

The balloon would carry scientific equipment 12 miles high. The project, which needs approval from a Harvard committee, would test communications equipment and other systems.

The balloon would not release any particles into the stratosphere, according to Reuters.

The news service appropriately pointed out there are some critics of the project.

“Opponents see the Swedish balloon as a step on a slippery slope towards engineering the climate with an artificial sunshade – something with potentially large and hard-to-predict risks, such as shifts in global rain patterns,” Reuters noted.

Is Bill Gates up to no-good?

Perhaps planning to shoot anti-UV particles into the stratosphere while playing in real-life Farmville is a billionaire’s version of a midlife crisis. Or perhaps Gates has a savior complex and doesn’t mind being burdened with what you’d think would be an astronomical annual property tax bill.

It’s probably chump change to him, though.

In any event, Gates is in the farming business, per his land records. Still, it’s hard to imagine him in a straw hat setting up a strawberry stand outside of a Walmart in western Arkansas. What exactly is he doing?

Just add the revelation of Gates’ new real-estate holdings to his other peculiar activities. It’s not clear what he’s up to, but whatever it is, it should be eyed with suspicion.

We all should have had Gates on our radar since Microsoft released the awful Windows Me operating system in 2000.

That was a major red flag, and nobody caught it.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.