AP Debunks Claim That Bill Gates Owns Most U.S. Farmland
Billionaire tech mogul and philanthropist Bill Gates has amassed nearly 270,000 acres of farmland across the country, but that’s still a relatively small slice of the nation’s nearly 900 million total farm acres, Philip Marcelo reported for the Associated Press (AP).
Photo Insert: Bill Gates was once the world's richest man
“Bill Gates is buying up the majority of American farmland and BlackRock is buying the majority of single-family houses but I’m supposed to believe the biggest threat to us is Elon Musk buying Twitter?” read one representative tweet that’s been liked or shared on the platform more than 250,000 times, Marcelo wrote.
The Microsoft co-founder is considered the largest private owner of farmland in the country with some 269,000 acres across dozens of states, according to last year’s edition of the Land Report 100, an annual survey of the nation’s largest landowners.
But a Gates spokesperson said in a statement that the claim that he’s bought the majority of the nation’s farmland is false, pointing to a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) report from February that showed there were more than 895 million total acres of farmland in the country last year.
“That means Gates, whose net worth is estimated at some $134 billion according to Forbes’ annual ranking of the richest people in the country, owns less than one percent of the nation’s total farmland. So while the tech mogul certainly owns a large constellation of farms, it’s nowhere close to the majority nationwide. Gates, in an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit last year, said his ‘investment group’ was behind the purchases and suggested it was linked to seed and biofuel development,” Marcelo concluded.