The 10 biggest land owners in the United States collectively own more than 13 million acres across the country — that’s more than 0.5% of America.
Some of them are heirs who inherited land owned by their ancestors as early as the 1800s. Others are self-made millionaires who ventured into land acquisitions and have been racking up acres for years
The Land report compiled a list of the 100 largest landowners in the country.
Here are the 10 families or individuals who topped the list.
- Pingree Heirs — 830,000 acres
The Pingree heirs are comprised of the fifth, sixth, and seventh generations of the Pingree family, descended from Salem shipping merchant David Pingree. They own landholdings across Maine, which are managed by the Seven Islands Land Company.
- King Ranch Heirs — 911,215 acres
The sprawling King Ranch was first assembled in the 1800s by Henry King, a former indentured servant who went on to earn a fortune as a steamboat captain, according to Forbes. The land now crosses four counties in Texas and Florida, and includes ranching, hunting, farming, and oil and gas operations.
- Brad Kelley — 1 million acres
The famously media-shy Brad Kelley finally confirmed to The Wall Street Journal last year that he owns roughly 1 million acres — mostly in west Texas, but also in Florida, Hawaii, Tennessee, and Kentucky. In 2012, Kelley bought the 800-acre Calumet Farm in Kentucky for $36 million, where he now bases his horse-racing operations.
“I grew up on a farm and that’s about as good an explanation as there is,” he told the Journal when asked about his land acquisitions. “Land is something I know. It’s something I have an affinity for. It becomes part of your DNA.”
- Singleton Family — 1.1 million acres
The Singleton family owns ranches in New Mexico and Santa Fe, passed down from the family patriarch Henry Singleton, who died in 1999. Singleton was the co-founder of the company Teledyne, and started buying up land in 1986. He eventually purchased 1.1 million acres’ worth of ranches.
- Irving Family — 1.246 million acres
J.D. Irving Limited, dubbed “one of Canada’s richest and most secretive business dynasties, owns a collective 3 million acres of timberland across Canada and the United States. The family’s US branch, Irving Woodlands, has managed roughly over 1 million acres in Maine for more than 60 years.
- Reed Family — 1.37 million acres
The Reed family’s Green Diamond Resource Company was founded in 1890 and is now among the oldest continuously operating forest products companies in the Pacific northwest. The family’s holdings span 1.37 million acres across California, Oregon, and Washington.
- Stan Kroenke — 1.38 million acres
Sports mogul Stan Kroenke, who owns the Los Angeles Rams and the Denver Nuggets, recently bought the historic Waggoner Ranch in Texas, boosting his holdings by more than 500,000 acres.
- Emmerson Family — 1.95 million acres
The Emmerson family owns Sierra Pacific Industries, the country’s second-largest lumber producer, along with roughly 2 million acres of timberland across California and Washington.
- Ted Turner — 2 million acres
Media mogul Ted Turner, best known for founding CNN, used to be the single largest private landowner in the country until his roughly 2 million acres were surpassed in 2011.
The 78-year-old billionaire owns land in 10 different states, and has cultivated a herd of 51,000 bison spread across 15 of his ranches in an effort to restore the country’s endangered bison population.
“When I was a little boy, I was interested in the natural world,” Turner told said.”We had a book about wildlife and it had the story of bison — how when the white men, [Christopher] Columbus landed, there were 30 million bison roaming the great plains of North America. Then, 200 years later there were 200 left. They came that close to extinction and I said, ‘What a terrible, sad thing.’ They were so cool-looking and I had never seen one, except in pictures.”
- John Malone — 2.2 million acres
John Malone, who has been nicknamed the “Cable Cowboy’’ for his telecommunications ventures, is the single largest landowner in the United States with 2.2 million acres of land.
He leapt ahead of Ted Turner in 2010 as the country’s largest individual landowner in when he made the largest single ranch sale in more than a decade by purchasing the 290,100-acre Bell Ranch in New Mexico.
Malone has also bought up parcels of land across the US, including in Colorado, Wyoming, Florida, Maine, New Hampshire, and Maryland.
Malone has a $9.22 billion net worth, is the chairman of Liberty Media, and also owns 28% of Discovery Communications, 8% of the publicly traded Atlanta Braves, and one-quarter of Liberty Global, the largest international cable company with 29 million subscribers.
Malone said, he considers a variety of factors before purchasing land, including aesthetics, economic viability, self-sufficiency, current management, and whether it can represent economic diversification for himself and his family.
“Productive land is one of the very few permanent values throughout history,” Malone said.