In the US, land owning is big business. Owning a prime piece of land can mean massive amounts of money in the form of everything from rental income to advertising dollars. As the population continues to grow, space-land, is fast becoming the new gold. While the value of the dollar may fluctuate, land just keeps growing in value, as there becomes less and less of it available for development. The men and women who own large swaths of land, many of whom have had the land in their families for generations, are benefiting mightily from the sudden high demand. As we get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, or, if you’re Native American – the National Day of Mourning – here’s a look at the Top 10 landowners in the US, and just how much all that land is now worth.
10. Stan Kroenke – Amount of Land: 740,000 acres
Monetary Worth: Approx. $1.4 Billion
Stan Kroenke was born on July 29, 1947 in Columbia, Missouri, and went on to earn a B.A., B.S., and an MBA from the University of Missouri. He is now the majority owner of the Los Angeles Rams, the CEO of Kroenke Sports Enterprises, the founder of the Kroenke Group, and the owner of the Pepsi Center Arena in Denver, Colorado. He is also part-owner of Dick’s Sporting Goods. In other words, the man is wealthy and successful. His net worth rests at an estimated $7.7 billion. His land is primarily used for running his 12,000 yearlings.
9. The Reed Family – Amount of Land: 770,000 acres
Monetary Worth: Approx. $2.23 Billion
The Reed Family married in to the wealthy Simpson Family, and subsequently took over operations. The members of the Simpson Family are the heirs to the Simpson Investment Company fortune. The company, originally founded in 1890 as a logging venture, has grown to include a logging arm, a pulpwood and liner board manufacturing arm, and a door manufacturing arm. The company also has a subsidiary that manages their forest lands and they oversaw the Simpson Railroad company until the late 1980s.
8. The Pingree Family – Amount of Land: 830,000 acres
Monetary Worth: Approx. $2.4 Billion
The Pingree Family is known as the “royal family” of Maine. The Pingree’s holding company, known as the Seven Islands Land Company, manages the massive acreage the family has passed down since their ancestor, David Pingree, first purchased the land more than 150 years ago. A very successful shipping magnate, David Pingree began buying up land in Maine before it was even a state. In 2001, an agreement was signed that only 250,000 acres of the land could ever be used for development. The rest of the land, which is about equal to the size of Rhode Island, is to be conserved.
7. King Ranch – Amount of Land: 911,215 acres
Monetary Worth: Approx. $2.6 Billion
King Ranch is a massive historic landmark that is divided up into four divisions. Located near Corpus Christi, Texas, the ranch was founded by Richard King, a river boat captain from New York. Construction was completed on the main ranch in 1853 and over the years, King and his partners added parcels of land to their holdings, slowly expanding the ranch. There is now a King Ranch arm in Florida, as well, and the ranch is responsible for cattle, orange juice, sugar cane, green beans, sweet corn, and sod. The King Ranch company has also branched out into non-ranch related ventures, including publishing and tourism.
6. The Singleton Family – Amount of Land: 1.11 Million acres
Monetary Worth: Approx. $3.2 Billion
Henry Earl Singleton, the head of the Singleton family until he passed away in 1999 at the age of 82, amassed the family fortune through electrical engineering and major business acumen. After graduating from the U.S. Navel Academy, he went on to earn three degrees from M.I.T., and to become instrumental in both early computer design and the inertial navigation that formed the basis of guidance systems for fighter aircraft. He co-founded Teledyne, Inc., a major conglomerate, and served as CEO for 30 years. After retiring, he began buying up land and shifted his focus to cattle ranching.
5. The Irving Family – Amount of Land: 1.2 Million acres
Monetary Worth: Approx. $3.5 Billion
James Dargavel Irving started a sawmill company in New Brunswick, Canada in 1882. The sawmill expanded into pulp milling, trucking, shipping/shipbuilding, specialty printing, consumer products, forestry, tree nurseries and prefabricated concrete. The family’s land holdings now extend from Canada into Maine, and the company, now known as J.D. Irving Limited, has continued to expand. CEO duties are currently shared by Jim and Robert Irving, while James’ grandson, J.K. Irving is the current owner. J.K. Irving has a net worth of $6 billion.
4. Brad Kelley – Amount of Land: 1.5 Million acres
Monetary Worth: Approx: $4.4 Billion
Brad Kelley was born in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in 1956, and made his money in tobacco. He founded the Commonwealth Brands tobacco company in 1991. He grew up on a farm that grew tobacco among other crops, and when health regulations and anti-smoking campaigns began to make a dent in tobacco farming, he bought up empty warehouses on the cheap. He then launched his own company and sold it for $1 billion to Houchens Industries in 2001. He subsequently used this money to buy up massive amounts of land, on which he now breeds rare animals. He owns major acreage in Florida, New Mexico, and Texas.
3. Archie Aldis “Red” Emmerson – Amount of Land: 1.84 Million acres
Monetary Worth: Approx. $5.3 Billion
Archie Aldis Emmerson, also known as Red, was born in Grand Ronde, Oregon in 1929. His father started a sawmill business while he was in school, and after finishing high school, he focused on learning as much about the business as he could. He and his father launched their own lumber company in 1949. Their small family-owned company grew to become Sierra Pacific Industries, which is currently the second largest lumber producer in America. He currently lives in Redding, California, and owns land in California and Washington.
2. Ted Turner – Amount of Land: Approx. 2 Million acres
Monetary Worth: Approx. $5.8 Billion
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably have some idea of who Ted Turner is. He’s the founder of Turner Broadcasting System, which was responsible for CNN, and currently owns TBS, TNT, TCM, Cartoon Network, and a host of other entertainment outlets. He is the current Chairman of the United Nations Foundation Board of Directors, and is the former owner of the Atlanta Braves. Ted owns so much land that he can literally ride a horse from Canada to Mexico without stepping off his property.
1. John Malone – Amount of Land: 2.2 Million acres
Monetary Worth: Approx. $6.4 Billion
John Malone was born in Milford, Connecticut in 1941, and went on to earn degrees from Yale, Johns Hopkins, and NYU in Electrical Engineering and Industrial Management. He began his professional career working in AT&T’s laboratories in research and development. From there, he went on to run multiple telecommunications companies, eventually serving as CEO of Tele-Communications, Inc. (TCI) for nearly 25 years. He also briefly served as chairman of Liberty Media Corp. He has a personal net worth of $9 billion and owns land in Maine, New Hampshire, and New Mexico.