Bill Gates, the fourth richest person in the world and a self-proclaimed nerd who is known for his early programming skills rather than his love of the outdoors, quietly grabbed 242,000 acres of farmland across the United States – enough to making him the first owner of private farmland in America. After years of reports that he was buying farmland in places like Florida and Washington, The Land Report revealed that Gates, who has a net worth of nearly $ 121 billion according to Forbes, has built up a large portfolio. of farmland covering 18 states. Its largest operations are in Louisiana (69,071 acres), Arkansas (47,927 acres) and Nebraska (20,588 acres). In addition, he owns an interest in 25,750 acres of transitional land on the west side of Phoenix, Arizona, which is under development as a new suburb. According to research by The Land Report, the land is owned directly and through third party entities by Cascade Investments, Gates’ personal investment vehicle. Cascade’s other investments include food safety company Ecolab, used car retailer Vroom, and Canadian National Railways. While it may come as a surprise that a tech billionaire is also the largest owner of farmland in the country, this isn’t Gates’ only foray into agriculture. In 2008, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced $ 306 million in grants to promote sustainable, high-yield agriculture among smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The foundation has also invested in the development and proliferation of climate change resistant “super crops” and higher yielding dairy cows. Last year, the organization announced Gates Ag One, a nonprofit organization to advance these efforts. Read the full profile on Forbes: Subscribe to FORBES: Stay Connected Forbes Bulletins: Forbes on Facebook: Forbes Video on Twitter: Forbes Video on Instagram: More From Forbes: Forbes covers the intersection of entrepreneurship, wealth, of technology, of focusing on people and success. .
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