Bill Gates Farmland: Why Is the Billionaire Buying So Much? – Popular Mechanics

He’s the most important landowner in the US.
Invoice Gates and conspiracy theories pass in combination like peanut butter and jelly. The billionaire can’t appear to do anything with out drawing the conspiratorial ire of on-line netizens. One of the most extra colourful theories relates to Gates’s peculiar pastime in U.S. agriculture, with rumors that the previous Microsoft CEO owns upward of 80 p.c of farmland in the US.
Wonderful, if true—however it’s extremely not. In a Reddit “Ask Me Anything else” (AMA) final week, Gates once again fielded a question referring to his AG holdings and mentioned that he in reality best owns 1/4000 of all U.S. farmland, or about 270,000 acres spread across 18 different states. Even if nowhere close to 80 p.c of U.S. farmland, it’s nonetheless a little bit greater than one-third of the state of Rhode Island, a shocking quantity for one particular person and sufficient to make Gates the largest landowner in the U.S.
So why does Invoice Gates, and different billionaires like him, stay purchasing up such a lot farmland?
Some professionals have pointed to Gates’s well-known sustainability and green tech initiatives as a imaginable explanation why, however all over an previous Reddit AMA in 2021, Gates stated, “my funding staff selected to try this. It’s not attached to weather.” That’s since the previous adage is going: “Purchase land—they aren’t making it anymore.” (Which volcanologists know isn’t exactly true, however you get the speculation).
Beginning in 2013, Gates started making an investment his billions (throughout the company Cascade Funding) in agriculture as a result of its stable building up in worth and occasional volatility. In step with Mother Jones, the common value of farmland larger six instances from 1940 to 2015, and the craze is prone to proceed as the quantity of arable land within the U.S. continues to shrink from climate-related pressures.
Then again, this custom of shopping for up agricultural land predates Invoice Gates and has been a well-liked funding for the super-rich since no less than the early 2000s. The monetary disaster later in that very same decade prompted an explosion of investments into farmland when financial secure havens was scarce.
Even if Gates owns those farms, he isn’t converting their practices. As a substitute, he most commonly acts like a landlord and lets in skilled farmers to stay doing their factor—although the ones practices are ruinous to the surroundings. An identical to private equity firms destabilizing the housing marketplace, millionaires and billionaires making an investment in farmland also are developing their very own set of problems, as they are now pricing out young farmers taking a look to shop for land.
Will Invoice Gates’s inexperienced tech tasks ever intersect together with his rising agricultural empire? Who is aware of. In that very same Reddit AMA from 2021, the only the place Gates separated his land investments from his sustainability tasks, he additionally discussed the significance of “productive seeds” to keep away from deforestation in addition to the manufacturing of biofuels, which is predicated closely on corn, in the exact same resolution.
For now, Gates’s ever-expanding farmland possession is in reality simply “wealthy man doing wealthy man issues,” and whilst regarding in a late-stage capitalism type of approach, it isn’t as cartoonishly nefarious as some conspiratorial corners of the web wish to imagine.
Darren lives in Portland, has a cat, and writes/edits about sci-fi and the way our global works. You’ll to find his earlier stuff at Gizmodo and Paste for those who glance onerous sufficient. 

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