The Van Trump Report

Top-10 Largest US Farmland Owners

I always like browsing the list of the top farmland owners. Below is the most recent list I have seen. (Source: FarmlandRiches, Cari Scribner)
1. Bill Gates – Currently owns about 242,000 acres of farmland in 18 states. His largest holdings are in: Louisiana (69,100 acres), Arkansas (48,000 acres), and Nebraska 20,500 acres. In 2010, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation allocated $306 million in grants to aid high-yield, sustainable farming for farmers with smaller lots in the Sahara Desert in Africa and in South Asia. This foundation has also funneled money into research and development of so-called super crops that are able to flourish even during climate change.

2. Ted Turner – Currently owns 17 ranches – 14 in the western U and three in Argentina. Turner owns Ranches with cattle in Nebraska, Kansas, Montana, South Dakota, New Mexico as well as Argentina.
Turner has made a mission to promote ecological sustainability. His ranches include more than 45,000 bison. In addition, Turner ranches promote and support many forward-thinking environmental projects battling climate change. These include timber management to protect forest land, water conservation from natural resources and replanting many native plant species on land destroyed by development.

3. Stewart & Lynda Resnick – This couple owns an astounding 192,000 farmland acres in California and Texas. Primarily, on this farmland, they grow mandarins and other citrus fruit, pistachios, almonds, and pomegranates. In the mid-1970s, Stewart took a chance and followed a hunch to buy 2,500 acres of oranges and lemons in California that had gone bankrupt and were being sold quickly and cheaply. After that, he found other land in fast-sell situations with owners eager to sell at rock-bottom prices. Fast forward to today, when the Resnick’s so-called Wonderful Company is worth $4.2 billion. The company produces a long list of high-quality, healthy products such as Wonderful Halos Mandarins, Wonderful Pistachios, Wonderful Almonds, Fiji water and POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice on their acreage.

4. Offutt Family – The Offutt family farm got its start in 1960 when Ron Offutt and his father began growing potatoes. Today, the farm operations are led by Ron’s daughter, Christi, who is the company chair. Her husband, Keith McGovern currently serves as President of the company. This family owns 190,000 farmland acres in Fargo, North Dakota. Primarily, they grow potatoes.

5. The Fanjul Family – launched their farming business back in the mid-1800s and produced sugarcane for over a century in their homeland of Cuba. But history interrupted their thriving business when the Cuban Revolution occurred, leaving Fidel Castro in charge. During this time, the Fanjul family lost all their land and savings. They left Cuba and relocated to South Florida where Alfonso and Pepe Fanjul worked hard to start a new company producing sugarcane and other row crops. Today the family primarily grows sugarcane on 152,000 farmland acres in South Florida.

6. Boswell Family – At the young age of 29, Boswell’s uncle passed away and left 50,000 acres in the San Joaquin Valley to James. For the next 50 years, Boswell dominated land in California’s Central Valley, tripling his family’s holdings. He made bold moves to bring much-needed water to the dry land by building dams and diverting rivers to irrigate agriculture. This allowed the farm to grow an enormous crop of cotton, for which they remain a key producer even now. The pima cotton is used by high-end apparel companies such as Land’s End for super soft clothing. Along the way, Boswell established the J.G. Boswell Tomato Company that follows the fresh farm-to-table preparation. The company grows tomatoes from seeds, grows them to maturity, harvest them and oversees processing. They own +150,000 farmland acres in the Central California Valley.
Primarily, tomatoes and cotton are grown.

7. Stan Kroenke – In 1974, Stan married Anne Walton, who is the daughter of Bud Walton – Co-founder of Walmart. The family amassed a fortune primarily from their real estate empire. He also owns Kroenke Sports & Entertainment which is a holding company for a number of sports teams included the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Rams. They own 124,000 acres in Montana.

8. Gaylon Lawrence JR – is the CEO of The Lawrence Group. It is believed they own +115,000 acres of farmland across America. Lawrence’s farm land is primarily found in Illinois, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Missouri.

9. Simplot Family – Founder Jack Simplot came from an Idaho farming family. In 1968 the family signed a contract with McDonald’s owner Ray Kroc to be their source for frozen French fries. Before the ink was barely dry on the contract, the family farm’s output exploded as it became the #1 supplier of one of America’s go-to snacks. After passing away in 2008, Jack Simplot’s family now manages a $2.5 billion agricultural company that dominates the farming world. Along with farming, the family owns ranching and cattle production, food processing, phosphate mining, fertilizer manufacturing, and other staples. Estimates are the group owns +82,500 farmland acres in western Idaho and eastern Washington.

10. John Malone – did not necessarily earn his fortune from farmland. Instead, he was CEO of Tele-Communication Inc, TCI, which was sold to AT&T for $50 billion. John Malone actually owns +2.2 million acres of land across the US. Of that, roughly 100,000 acres are considered farmland in Colorado, Wyoming Maine and New Mexico. John Malone also owns the Silver Spur ranches, a cattle and beef company that includes the Silver Spur Ranch in Wyoming, Bell Ranch and the TO Ranch in New Mexico, and two other ranches in Walden and Kiowa, Colorado.

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