Billionaire Bill Now Farmer Bill

Bill Gates, the biggest landowner in America - the downfalls and benefits. Wrote by Sarah Loomis

Former co-founder of Microsoft and his wife are now the largest farmland owners of the United States. Those in the agricultural industry along with technology enthusiasts are probably wondering why Bill Gates wanted to own that much farm ground and what his intentions are. Gates has wrapped up 242,000 acres of farmland and about 27,000 acres of other land that are in 19 different states, according to The Land Report, which is a magazine is for tracking the largest landowners. The land is held by Cascade Investment, which is a holding company for the Gates family for a variety of investments.

Cascade’s business manager, Michael Larson, is in charge of growing the fortune and balancing the desire for profits with the idea of sustainability in mind. The business focuses on nature-based technology such as Impossible Foods, which is a company that makes “meat” from plant sources.

Photo taken by Sarah Loomis

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has recently announced the creation of a nonprofit, Bill and Melinda Gates Agricultural Innovations aka Gates Ag One, where they want to provide small farmers in certain countries with the tools, they need to create higher yields and work along with the current climate change issues. Any relation? That is for one to decide on their own. Gates Ag One has worked along with Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Cottonwood Ag Management, which involves Leading Harvest, to advance his goals with technologies within the industry.

What is the outlook of farmland? Since 1982, American Farmland Trust has calculated a loss of 24 million acres of farmland and ranchland due to development. That can be equivalent to looking Indiana and Rhode Island. To add to the chaos 37 percent of the land developed has happened within the last three decades. One can decide from there what the land will be used for in the future.

Gates goals is to transition millions of people out of poverty while also improving their health and well-being. He hopes to make sure that all people have the necessities for school and for life. Leading Harvest is represented over 2 million acres in the United States and seven countries around the world. It will be interesting to see what these investors have in store for the agriculture industry.

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