The 25 Biggest Landowners In The US

Jeff bezos amazonREUTERS/Rick WilkingAmazon CEO Jeff Bezos is again one of America’s biggest land owners.

America’s 100 biggest landowners increased their private holdings by 500,000 acres in the past year, according to The Land Report, which just released its annual list of landowners by acreage.

That’s slightly down from 2013, when the top 100 added 700,000 acres to their holdings. Even so, it means these land tycoons control more than 30 million acres, or almost 2% of America’s land mass.

Media tycoon John Malone, who owns 2.2 million acres — more than twice as much land as the state of Delaware — tops the list for the fourth year running. We’re taking a closer look at the top 25 land owners. You can download the full report here.

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

#25 Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns 290,000 acres.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos bought a 290,000-acre ranch in Texas in 2004, and his aerospace firm Blue Origin uses it to test space vehicles.

Data provided by The Land Report.

#24 The Nunley cattle-ranching family owns 301,500 acres.

The Nunley brothers have been in the ranching business for more than 70 years, and specialize in the Santa Gertrudis breed of cow. They own holdings in Texas and New Mexico, including a major cow-calf operation.

Data provided by The Land Report.

#22 The oil-rich Wilks brothers own 347,500 acres.

The Wilks brothers are the biggest landowners in Montana, and jumped into the top 25 this year after buying 36,000 acres in Idaho.

The pair, who made a fortune selling an oil fracking business, recently denied reports that their land purchases were for oil and gas exploration, saying instead they were for ranching.

#21 Energy entrepreneur Malone Mitchell III owns 384,000 acres.

Mitchell is an oil tycoon and investor who owns Longfellow Ranch in the Big Bend Country of West Texas, which is known for game and lodging.

Data provided by The Land Report.

#19 The family of oil and hotel tycoon Robert Earl Holding owns 400,000 acres.

Robert Earl Holding's success began in the oil industry. He owns three refineries and bought Sinclair Oil in 1976.

He has holdings in many states: ranches in Wyoming and Montana; ski resorts in Utah and Idaho; six other luxury hotels and resorts across the country, including The Grand American Hotel in Salt Lake City.

Data provided by The Land Report.

#18 The heirs to J.R. Simplot's French fry fortune own 422,500 acres.

The J.R. Simplot Company started its fortune in potatoes, when Simplot created the first frozen French fries. It diversified over the years to become one of the largest, privately-held food companies in the world.

They own agribusiness land in Idaho. The land and livestock division has more than 30 farms and 15 ranches with capacity for 30,000 mother cows.

Data provided by The Land Report.

#16 Entertainment and oil mogul Phillip Anschutz owns 434,500 acres.

Sports mogul Anschutz and one of his many drilling rigs

Phillip Anschutz's company has investments in energy exploration, telecommunications and agribusiness. His Anschutz Entertainment Group is also the world's largest owner and operator of sports and entertainment venues.

He owns the 250,000-acre Baughman Farms in Kansas; 149,493-acre Overland Trail Cattle Company & Ranch in Wyoming and 35,000 acres in Colorado.

Data provided by The Land Report.

#15 Heirs to the O'Connor cattle-ranching family own 500,000 acres.

Port O'Connor, Texas -- a town named for its largest landholder

D.M. O'Connor continued to expand the land his father, Thomas O'Connor, was awarded in the Battle of San Jacinto. Oil was discovered on their cattle ranches, and today the O'Connors own an estimated half-million acres across Southern and Western Texas.

Data provided by The Land Report.

#14 The cattle-breeding W.T. Waggoner Estate owns 535,000 acres.

The late W.T. Waggoner and his ranch

W.T. Waggoner began expanding his father's ranching interests and established what is known today as the W.T. Waggoner Estate.

The estate owns ranching and farmland throughout Texas.

Data provided by The Land Report.

#13 Member of the Briscoe cattle-ranching family own 560,000 acres.

Former Texas Governor Dolph Briscoe Jr. expanded his holdings when oil and gas were discovered on his ranch land.

The family owns ranches and oilfields throughout Texas.

Data provided by The Land Report.

#12 Heirs to the Lykes Bros. cattle-ranching operation own 615,000 acres.

The Lykes' family-owned company began as a cattle ranching operation and has since expanded into bioenergy and farming. They own ranch lands and farms in Texas and Florida.

Data provided by The Land Report.

#11 The Ford family, who have a timber processing company, owns 625,000 acres.

The late Kenneth Ford and his lumber empire

The Ford family's Roseburg Forest Products had its origins in 1936 when the Roseburg Lumber Company was founded by owner Kenneth Ford. They own timberland throughout Oregon and California.

Data provided by The Land Report.

#10 The heirs of shipping magnate David Pingree own 830,000 acres.

The Pingree family's fortune in timber began in the mid 1800s when David Pingree started buying up land in Maine. The family has since has conserved more than three-quarters of a million acres of Maine forestland.

Data provided by The Land Report.

#9 Sports mogul Stan Kroenke owns 848,571 acres.

Kroenke and his cows

The owner of the St. Louis Rams, who got his start in real estate, increased his holdings this year with the purchase of a 60-acre tract in Los Angeles, fueling speculation that the football team could move west.

Kroenke made headlines in 2012 when he bought Montana's 123,000-acre Broken O Ranch for a reported $US132.5 million, and is also the owner of 540,000-acre Q Creek Ranch in Wyoming.

Data provided by The Land Report.

#8 Heirs to the King ranching family own 911,215 acres.

King Ranch, founded by Captain Richard King 161 years ago, operates 825,000 acres of cattle ranches and 60,000 acres of farms in South Texas, and thousands of acres in Florida producing orange juice, sugar cane, sod, sweet corn and green beans.

Primary revenue for King Ranch remains ranching and farming but it has also expanded into publishing, retail, and eco-tourism.

Data provided by The Land Report.

#7 Heirs to industrialist Henry Singleton own 1.1 million acres.

Henry Singleton amassed his wealth by building industrial conglomerate Teledyne before purchasing the San Cristobal Ranch in 1986. The Singleton family's holdings are comprised of ranches across California and New Mexico, including the picturesque San Cristobal Ranch outside of Santa Fe.

Data provided by The Land Report.

#6 The Irving family of Canada owns 1.25 million acres.

Jim Irving and his Maine acres

The Canadian company Irving Woodlands has roots in the U. dating back to 1882, when James D. Irving founded a company that included a sawmill, gristmill, lumber business, and farms. Their US landholdings are centered in Maine.

They also own 2 million acres in Canada.

Data provided by The Land Report.

#5 The Reed family, who own a forest products company, owns 1.37 million acres.

The Reed family has long operated the privately owned Simpson Investment Company, one of the oldest forest-products companies in the Pacific Northwest.

They own 730,000 acres of timber across California, Oregon, and Washington, and purchased another 600,000 acres of Oregon timberland in 2014, bumping them up on the list.

Data provided by The Land Report.

#4 Tobacco tycoon Brad Kelley owns 1.5 million acres.

Kelley founded a tobacco company in 1990 and sold it for $US1 billion in 2001. His properties span Texas, New Mexico, and Florida and are used to breed rare species of animals. The state of Texas purchased 17,000 acres of his property in 2014.

Kelley made headlines this year when he bought the Lonely Planet guide books.

Data provided by The Land Report.

#3 The lumber-manufacturing Emmerson family owns 1.86 million acres.

Red Emmerson in California

Red Emmerson is president of Sierra Pacific Industries, a family-run lumber manufacturing business that ranks as California's largest private landowner. He owns just under two million acres of forestland in California and Washington, and added 20,000 acres in 2012.

Data provided by The Land Report.

#2 Broadcasting billionaire Ted Turner owns 2 million+ acres.

Image: Turner Enterprises

Ted Turner founded the Turner Broadcasting System that launched CNN and several other successful cable programs.

He owns 2 million acres in 12 states and Argentina. He recently acquired the 8,800-acre Nonami Plantation -- known for its quail hunting -- in his home state of Georgia. Last year he bought the historic Sierra Grande Lodge and Spa in Truth or Consequences, NM.

Data provided by The Land Report.

#1 Telecom exec John Malone owns 2.2 million acres.

Malone has served in executive positions in telecommunications firms and is currently the chairman of Liberty Media Corp.

He nabbed the top spot from his friend and business partner Ted Turner in 2011 when he purchased a million acres of woods in Maine and New Hampshire. Last year he added an Irish castle outside Dublin and two properties in Florida's equestrian country to his holdings.

Data provided by The Land Report.

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