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A Foolish Take: The 10 Biggest Landowners in America

By John Maxfield - Oct 9, 2017 at 12:43PM

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There are many ways the ultrarich invest their money. One is real estate.

Every year, The Land Report documents the biggest landowners in America. To make it into the top 10 for the most recent year, you'd have to own nearly 1 million acres. The No. 1 person on the list, John Malone, who built a fortune in the media business, owns a reported 2.2 million acres.

Six of the individuals and families on the list own sprawling ranches in places like Wyoming, New Mexico, and Texas.

Just last year, Stan Kroenke -- owner of the Los Angeles Rams, Denver Nuggets, and other sports franchises -- bought the 510,527-acre Waggoner Ranch, which spans six Texas counties. With his other holdings, that's enough to rank Kroenke fourth on the latest Land Report.

A bar chart showing the 10 biggest landowners in America

Data source: The Land Report. Chart by author.

Other notable ranch owners on the list include Malone, Ted Turner, the Singleton family, and the King Ranch heirs. 

The rest of the 10 biggest landowners in the United States are owners of timberland. The Emmerson family is the nation's second-largest lumber producer, controlling nearly 2 million acres of timberland in California and Washington. The Reed and Irving families are similarly major timber producers.

Together, these landowners control an estimated 14 million acres. That's meaningfully larger than the state of Maryland (7.9 million acres), but slightly short of West Virginia (15.5 million acres).

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