America’s Wealthiest Own How Much Land?!

October 3, 2013

The wealthiest Americans have a big appetite for investing in rural, undeveloped land: The nation’s top 100 landowners now own 2 percent of U.S. land mass, according to the 2013 Land Report 100 by Fay Ranches. 

The title for the nation’s biggest land owner belongs to John Malone, the Liberty Media chairman who owns 2.2 million acres. He edges out No. 2 -seated Ted Turner, founder of CNN, who owns 2 million acres, according to the survey. 

“America’s largest landowners continue to recognize land as a compelling asset, one whose numerous attributes go well beyond ROI,” says Eric O’Keefe, editor in chief of The Land Report. 

Greg Fay, land broker and founder of Fay Ranches, says it’s “refreshing to see large landowners find value in aggregating their land for conservation and agriculture purposes versus parceling it out and developing it.” 

Rounding out the top 8 landowners in America are: 

  • The Emmerson family, which owns Sierra Pacific Industries, the nation's second-largest lumber producer: 1.86 million acres
  • Brad Kelley, founder of cigarette company Commonwealth Brands: 1.5 million acres
  • The Irving family, which owns forestry company J.D. Irving Inc.: 1.25 million acres
  • The Singleton family, which owns Singleton Ranches, a top cow-calf operation: 1.1 million acres
  • King Ranch heirs, who oversee King Ranch in Texas, one of the largest ranches in the world: 911,215 acres
  • Stan Kroenke, sports and real estate mogul: 848,571 acres

Source: “2013 Land Report 100,” Fay Ranches (2013) and “Behind the 2013 Land Report 100: America’s Largest Landowners Double Down,” RISMedia (Oct. 2, 2013)

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