A viral tweet from right-wing activist Mercedes Schlapp claims that Bill Gates is purchasing “a majority of American farmland” and that investment firm BlackRock is purchasing “a majority of single family houses.”
Gates is indeed buying up farmland, but his purchases come nowhere near a majority of American farmland. There are 895 million acres of farmland in the United States according to a 2022 report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. According to reporting about Gates purchasing farmland last year, he owns more than 269,000 acres. When asked during a Reddit Ask Me Anything event why he was buying up so much farmland, Gates replied: “My investment group chose to do this. It is not connected to climate. The agriculture sector is important. With more productive seeds we can avoid deforestation and help Africa deal with the climate difficulty they already face. It is unclear how cheap biofuels can be but if they are cheap it can solve the aviation and truck emissions.”
Gates’ farmland represents .03 percent of American farmland. It’s a sizable amount for a single land owner, and is enough to make Gates the most significant private farmland owner in the country. But it is nowhere near a majority of American farmland as Schlapp suggests.