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Columns | Go Far With Kovar

Why does Bill Gates own farmland?


by Taylor Kovar

Hi Taylor: I just read that Bill Gates owns more farmland than anyone else in the U.S. Is that true? What does a tech billionaire want farms for? - Chad

Hi Chad: Yes, the article you read speaks the truth. In fact, if you look at lots of millionaire and billionaire investors, you'll see that they're buying up farmland as fast as they can. None of them are going to touch the soil they buy, but they understand the value of the asset.

1. Limited resource. There are over 900 million acres of farmland in our country, which sounds like a lot until you think of all the things we grow, mouths we feed, and global trading we do. Around 40% of that land is rented to those who do the actual planting and harvesting, so being a farmland landlord is a pretty common gig. As food standards and environmental regulations change, more and more people are looking to update and upgrade farming practices, which makes any farmland that's for sale even more appealing.

2. Need to sell. When we think of farmers, we usually picture people who have all their wealth tied up in assets. They don't live lavishly, they just work the land and make money on what they're able to cultivate. Most private farms have been in families for generations, with the understanding that the value of the business is the land itself. When farming becomes problematic-due to health or economics-the easiest solution is to sell at least a portion of the land and move on to something else. The value of the land combined with the owner's need for cash means a good farmland investment is usually lurking, you just have to be ready to jump on it when the time is right.

3. Should you invest? I'm a big proponent of farmland investing and there are a good number of ways to go about it without being a billionaire. Sites like AcreTrader.com allow you to invest in the land and product without buying a farm outright, so you can reap the rewards without landing yourself in a mess of red tape. If you want to actually get your hands dirty, you can find a way to rent farmland and grow your crops without owning, if that's what suits you. Whatever your goals, there's a lot of money to be made in American farms. As long as people need to eat, that's going to remain the case.

You won't get any advice on planting crops from people like Bill Gates, but his investments are worth keeping an eye on. And, with this particular investment, it's one even us non-billionaires can make.


Taylor Kovar
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Legal Disclaimer: Information presented is for educational purposes only and is not an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and, unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. To submit a question to be answered in this column, please send it via email to Question@GoFarWithKovar.com, or via USPS to Taylor Kovar, 415 S 1st St, Suite 300, Lufkin, TX 75901.


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