Bill Gates is the biggest private owner of farmland in the United States. Why?
Gates has been buying land like it’s going out of style. He now owns more farmland than my entire Native American nation
Nick Estes, Opinion, The Guardian (UK)
5 Apr 2021
Bill Gates has never been a farmer. So why did the Land Report dub him “Farmer Bill” this year? The third richest man on the planet doesn’t have a green thumb. Nor does he put in the back-breaking labor humble people do to grow our food and who get for far less praise for it. That kind of hard work isn’t what made him rich. Gates’ achievement, according to the report, is that he’s largest private owner of farmland in the US. A 2018 purchase of 14,500 acres of prime eastern Washington farmland – which is traditional Yakima territory – for $171m helped him get that title.
In total, Gates owns approximately 242,000 acres of farmland with assets totaling more than $690m. To put that into perspective, that’s nearly the size of Hong Kong and twice the acreage of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, where I’m an enrolled member. A white man owns more farmland than my entire Native nation!
The United States is defined by the excesses of its ruling class. But why do a handful of people own so much land?
Land is power, land is wealth, and, more importantly, land is about race and class…
... When pressed during a book discussion on Reddit about why he’s gobbling up so much farmland, Gates claimed, “It is not connected to climate [change].” The decision, he said, came from his “investment group.” Cascade Investment, the firm making these acquisitions, is controlled by Gates...
... Arable land is not just profitable. There’s a more cynical calculation. Investment firms are making the argument farmlands will meet “carbon-neutral” targets for sustainable investment portfolios while anticipating an increase of agricultural productivity and revenue...
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