Tech zillionaire Bill Gates and his wife Melinda, are the country’s biggest owners of farmland.

Details from Landreport.com, which does an annual survey. It says the Offutt family trails in second with 190,000 acres.

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The Gates family has 242,000 acres in 18 states, including 47,927 acres in Arkansas, or more than 700 square miles worth.

Where is it? That would require some detective work. The land is held through third-party entities. A Forbes article said:

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It is not entirely clear how Gates’  farmland is being used, or whether any of the land is being set aside for conservation. (Cascade did not return Forbes’ request for comment.) However, there is some indication that the land could be used in a way that aligns with the foundation’s values. Cottonwood Ag Management, a subsidiary of Cascade, is a member of Leading Harvest, a nonprofit that promotes sustainable agriculture standards that prioritize protections of crops, soil and water resources.

Money managers have been investing in farm property for some time. They can rent the land and profit from increases in land value.  A 10 percent return from rent and land value increase would be a good return for productive row-crop farms, such as many in Arkansas. Or so the experts said in a Forbes article last year that mentioned Gates’ investment.

 

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