Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) sent a letter to House Agriculture Committee chairman David Scott (D-Ga.), requesting that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates testify before the committee regarding the billionaire’s large farmland purchases.
“The Committee should be interested in Mr. Gates’ ownership and plans for his acreage, as he has been a leading voice in the push for ‘synthetic meat.’ In 2021, Mr. Gates was quoted to say ‘all rich countries should move to 100 percent synthetic beef’ to combat climate change,” the letter said.
Acres of FarmlandJohnson’s letter comes as Gates’s organization, Red River Trust, was recently approved to buy 2,100 acres of prime farmland in North Dakota. The state's attorney general, Drew Wrigley, cleared the sale on June 29. The deal was approved because it complied with an anti-corporate farming law, with the land intended to be leased back for use by farmers.
During a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session in March 2021, Gates was asked why he was buying up farmland, and he answered that it was his “investment group” that chose to do this. “It is not connected to climate.”
Gates’s private farmlands are estimated to be worth around $690 million. His largest holding is in the state of Louisiana, where he owns 69,073 acres of land, followed by 47,927 acres in Arkansas, 25,750 acres in Arizona, 20,588 acres in Nebraska, 17,940 acres in Illinois, 16,963 acres in Mississippi, 16,097 acres in Washington, and 14,828 acres in Florida.