The first half of 2021 has been remarkable for Microsoft founder and billionaire Bill Gates in more than one way. He parted ways with Melinda after 27 years of marriage; became the biggest private farmland owner in the US, and so on.
According to Land Report and NBC News, the powerful couple owns over 269,000 acres of farmland in the United States. By vastness, it’s more than the entire acreage of New York City. Gates‘ company has acquired farmland in 18 states and is engaged in large-scale agricultural activities. His largest holdings are in Louisiana, Nebraska, and Arkansas.
Interestingly, potatoes for McDonald’s French fries come from Gates‘ farm. The fast food company sources carrots and onions also from his farm. Soybeans, corn, cotton, rice, and potatoes are the main crops.
Love of farming is evident in Gates at least for the past 10 years. He has 6,000 acres of farmland in Georgia and 14,000 in Washington.
But Gates says his farmland investments have nothing to do with his philanthropic or climate initiatives. “My investment group chose to do this. It is not connected to climate,” he said on Reddit in March.
Divorce and fortune sharing with Melinda might have brought Bill Gates closer to farming, both mentally and financially. It may even have prompted him to turn to the ‘natural’ business.
As he sensed the advent of new age of technology and formed Microsoft in 1975 in New Mexico, Gates may be now foreseeing a future where people would abandon technology and take refuge in nature’s lap. This may be the reason why Gates became the US’ largest private farmland owner.
We have seen a generous philanthropist in Gates when it comes to tackling the world’s most troubling issues. Gates Foundation has contributed billions of dollars towards public health and climate initiatives. In any case, Gates‘ investment in farming will inspire youth to take up agriculture. And, combined with use of technology, Gates’ model will help make agriculture a profitable and dignified occupation.