Who wants to rule the world has to control food and health. And this is what Bill Gates is silently doing since years.
Indeed, Bill Gates has been quietly snatching up 242,000 acres of farmland across the U.S. And that’s enough to make him the top private farmland owner in America.
Gates has built up a massive farmland portfolio spanning 18 states with his largest holdings being in Louisiana (69,071 acres), Arkansas (47,927 acres) and Nebraska (20,588 acres). Additionally, he has a stake in 25,750 acres of transitional land on the west side of Phoenix, Arizona, which is being developed as a new suburb.
The land is held 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 Railway.
Does Gates want to control both health and food?
It is not entirely clear how Gates’ farmland is being used, or whether any of the land is being set aside for conservation.
However, there is some indication that the land could be used in a way that aligns with the foundation’s values. Cottonwood Ag Management, a subsidiary of Cascade, is a member of Leading Harvest, a nonprofit that promotes sustainable agriculture standards that prioritize protections of crops, soil and water resources.
“The Gates Foundation has rapidly become the most influential actor in the world of global health and agricultural policies, but there’s no oversight or accountability in how that influence is managed.”
This concentration of power and influence is even more problematic when you consider that the philanthropic vision of the Gates Foundation seems to be largely based on the values of ‘corporate America’:
“The foundation is relentlessly promoting big business-based initiatives such as industrial agriculture, private health care and education. But these are all potentially exacerbating the problems of poverty and lack of access to basic resources that the foundation is supposed to be alleviating.”
This is not Gates’ only foray into agriculture. In 2008, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced $306 million in grants to promote high-yield, sustainable agriculture among smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
The foundation has further invested in the development and proliferation of “super crops” resistant to climate change and higher-yield dairy cows.
The Gates Foundation is also very active in the area of health, which is ironic given its promotion of industrial agriculture and its reliance on health-damaging agrochemicals.
The Gates Foundation is a heavy pusher of agrochemicals and patented seeds and is collaborating in Bayer’s promotion of “new chemical approaches” and “biological crop protection” (i.e. encouraging agrochemical sales and GM crops) in the Global South.
Who are the biggest individual landowners in the US?
While Gates may be the country’s biggest farmland owner, he by no means is the largest individual landowner.
The Land Report gives the top spot to Liberty Media Chair John Malone, who owns 2.2 million acres of ranches and forests.
CNN founder Ted Turner ranked number three with 2 million acres of ranch land across eight states.
Even Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is investing in land on a large scale, landing the 25th spot with his ownership of 420,000 acres, mainly in west Texas.