(WatchDogReport.org) – In July 2022, the New York Post reported that billionaire Bill Gates spent $13.5 million on 2,100 acres of farmland in North Dakota. That purchase just happened to coincide with a Chinese company’s purchase of 370 acres of farmland not too far away. The events caused people to speculate that perhaps Gates and China were in cahoots and knew something the rest of the public did not. Rumors swirled concerning a food shortage in the future, and in that event, the billionaire and China would control the food supply.
Although a representative for Gates quickly said the rumor was ridiculous, the businessman himself partially addressed the issue in January on Reddit. During an “Ask Me Anything” session, a user by the name of bortodeeto asked Gates why he was purchasing “so much farmland.” They wondered if the billionaire thought it was an issue that he was using his riches to “disproportionally acquire” so much land. Gates said he bought the land to make them more “productive” and “create more jobs,” and there was no nefarious plot behind the purchase.
The business mogul said he owned “less than 1/4000” of US farmland, which he apparently doesn’t consider disproportional at all. Gates made it clear that the purchase decision was made by his investment team and not by him alone.
“I own less than 1/4000 of the farmland in the US. I have invested in these farms to make them more productive and create more jobs. There isn't some grand scheme involved – in fact, all these decisions are made by a professional investment team.”https://t.co/tk7m88zkmT
— The JRE Companion (@TheJRECompanion) February 28, 2023
The Farms and Land in Farms summary report from the US Department of Agriculture from early 2022 reported there were 895,300,000 acres of farmland in the US in 2021, which was a decrease of 1.3 million from the previous year. That would mean Gates’ purchase represented only 0.0002% of the total farmland in America. Yahoo Finance reported the billionaire owns more than his latest purchase, however — 242,000 acres — meaning he only controls less than .03% of the total.
There’s no word on whether he intends to buy more, but his foundation has agricultural initiatives, so he may expand his holdings in the future.
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