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Bill Gates: Largest private farmland owner in the US amounting to more than 269,000 acres

Chintu Das
Chintu Das
Farmlands

Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft and philanthropist, owns the most private farmland in the United States. According to NBC News, Bill Gates and his estranged wife Melinda Gates have purchased over 269,000 acres of farmland in the United States in the last ten years. According to the report, the Gates own land in at least 18 states in the United States.

The couple owns more than 14,000 acres of farmland in Washington, including huge potato fields visible from space, some of which are processed into McDonald's french fries. Apart from potatoes, his farm also grows carrots and onions in big amounts for grocery stores.

The Gates' marriage is currently in the process of dissolving. Their possessions will be divided as well. Their land holdings, according to the Land report and NBC article, span from 70,000 acres in north Louisiana where soybeans, corn, cotton, and rice are grown, to 20,000 acres in Nebraska where soybeans are grown. In Georgia, they also own 6000 acres. It's unknown why Gates has made such a large investment in farmland.

On Reddit, Gates was once asked about his farmland purchases. In response, he said, "This is something my investment group decided to undertake. It has nothing to do with the climate. Agriculture is a vital industry. With more productive seeds, we can reduce deforestation and assist Africa in dealing with its current climate challenges. It's unknown how affordable biofuels will be, but if they are, they will help to reduce aircraft and truck emissions."

Bill Gates' critics believe that he wields too much control over food and agriculture, and that he is more concerned with enriching himself than with saving the environment.

There are fears that land purchases by companies and billionaires may hasten the  industrialisation of agriculture, denying smallholders and family farmers the opportunity to make a living from land to which they may have long-standing ties.

Bill and Melinda Gates, who had been married for 27 years, announced their divorce on May 4th.

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