Who Is The Top U.S. Landowner? Surprise, It Isn’t Ted Turner!

%22The major fortunes in the world have been made in land.%22-2This past weekend, I was relaxing in my hammock, sipping an adult beverage and enjoying a little light reading.  The book I’m reading is Titan:  The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. by Ron Chernow.  Ok.  At 834 pages, this might not be considered “light.”

Anyway, as I read about the rise of the world’s richest man, two things struck me.  First, I don’t think that relaxing in a hammock is the best path to building a fortune of Rockefeller proportions.  Oh well.  It was quite relaxing none-the-less.

The other thing that struck me was the start of chapter 11:

“At a time when America’s brand-new millionaires reveled in garish houses that paid queer homage to everything from medieval romance to the Arabian Nights, Rockefeller preferred to own raw land.”

As an investor, I strongly believe in paying attention to what the most successful people are doing.  If Rockefeller believed so strongly in land, I wondered what the current uber-wealthy thought of it.  Not surprisingly, they are big advocates of land as well.

Take a look at the top 10 biggest landowners in the U.S. as excerpted from the Land Report 100.

  1. John Malone:  Malone, the cable magnate, is the largest landowner in the US, with 2.2 million acres of land.
  2. Ted Turner:  The 77-year-old founder of CNN owns around 2 million acres of land across seven states, which is just shy of three Rhode Islands.  Turner passes his time at his 28 homes including 14 ranches along with his four girlfriends.  Jane Fonda eat your heart out!
  3. The Emerson Family:  The Emmerson family which owns Sierra Pacific Industries, also owns 1.9 million acres of land.
  4. Brad Kelly:  The reclusive billionaire, who made his fortune from discount cigarettes, has accumulated 1.7 million acres of land in less than a decade.
  5. The Reed Family:  The Reed family’s company— Green Diamond Resource Company—manages and owns a range of forests in California and Washington.   Personally, they own of 1.3 million acres of land.
  6. The Irving Family:  Worth an estimated worth $4 billion through a number of investments that range from tissue manufacturing to oil and gas, the Irvings have amassed an impressive 1.2 million acres of land.
  7. The Singleton Family:  Prior to his death in 1999, Henry Singleton acquired 1.1 million acres of land.
  8. The King Family:  With over 900,000 acres of land, the heirs to Richard King’s historic ranch are set for life. The land stretches over six Texas counties and operates a range of ventures, which includes ecotourism and cattle and feedlots operations.
  9. Stan Kroenke:  Just this year, the owner of the Los Angeles Rams, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche and the U.K.’s Arsenal Football Club purchased the largest ranch in the United States covering an area larger than New York City and Los Angeles combined for a total of 865,000 acres.
  10. The Pingree Family:  The heirs to David Pingree fortune inherited 830,000 acres of land David Pingree, nicknamed the Merchant Prince of Salem, first started buying land 1841.

To see how other billionaires such as Philip Anschutz, The Simplot Family (invented frozen french fries), Jeff Bezos, the Koch Brothers and many others invest in land, check out the Land Report 100 – Largest Landowners in the U.S.