The ownership of property by individuals is one of the basic tenets of the U.S. constitution and an integral part of the American dream. The 2014 edition of “The Land Report 100”, published by Fay Ranches, breaks down the top 100 landowners in the U.S. and their holdings.
Top U.S. Landowners 1. John Malone — 2,200,000 acres
Malone’s main land holdings are the Silver Spur Ranches, a number of large ranches located in Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, and New Mexico. Silver Spur has more than a half-dozen divisions, but its largest holdings are in New Mexico: the 220,000-acre TO Ranch in Northern New Mexico near Raton, and the famous 290,100-acre Bell Ranch near Tucumcari.
Top U.S. Landowners 2. Ted Turner — 2,000,000 acres
Old school cable mogul Ted Turner is not just collecting land for the sake of ownership. Turner is commited to conservation and wildlife protection. back in 1997, the Turner family founded the Turner Endangered Species Fund and the Turner Biodiversity Divisions to promote the conservation at-risk species by focusing on private land. Both organizations have been involved in numerous restoration projects for endangered plants, birds and animals. The 2014 Land Report 100 notes: “The accomplishments of both TESF and Turner Biodiversity Divisions prove that private land offers numerous opportunities for landowners to play a huge role in preventing species from vanishing.”
Top U.S. Landowners 3. Emmerson Family — 1,860,000
Curly Emmerson and his son Red established Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) back in 1949. The highly successful lumber company has been owned and operated by the family ever since. Although the company (and the Emmerson family) have a mixed record on environmental issues, SPI is currently leading a major conservation project at Lake Tahoe close to the Northstar ski area. The company has said it will forgo development rights on around 6,400 acres of land and will instead turn the 10 square miles into open space and donate them to help create a 50,000-acre private nature reserve between Lake Tahoe and Truckee.
Top U.S. Landowners 4. Brad Kelley — 1,500,000 acres
Kentucky native Brad Kelley has been a major land owner for some time, but he did divest one significant asset earlier this year. The State of Texas announced the purchase of the 17,351-acre Powderhorn Ranch on Matagorda Bay back in August to add to its parks system. Texas Parks and Wildlife Executive Director Carter Smith noted, “It’s a magical place.” Smith noted the seller accepted a below-market price to ensure “a conservation-related outcome,” but would not name names. The Dallas Morning News, however, outed Kelley as the altruistic seller.
Top U.S. Landowners 5. Reed Family — 1.370,000 acres
The Reed family’s land holding also relate to the family timber business, and their holdings almost doubled from 2103 to 2014. The Green Diamond Resource Company announced that it had closed on 600,000 acres of Oregon timberland formerly owned by the estate of Richard Wendt. Green Diamond is one of the oldest continuously operating lumber companies in the Pacific Northwest, and can trace its entrepreneurial roots back to 1890.