Five largest landowners in the US

100 biggest private landholders added 700,000 acres in the past year

TRD New York /
Jun.June 01, 2014 02:00 PM

 Land remains a hot investment, and America’s wealthiest individuals are snapping up property at breakneck speed.

The 100 biggest private landowners in the U.S. added 700,000 acres to their holdings in the past year, according to CNBC’s Robert Frank. That means they now control more than 30 million acres, or 2 percent of America’s land mass.

The Land Report has just released its list of America’s biggest private landowners for 2013.

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 third year running. We’re taking a closer look at the top five landowners. You can download the full report at The Land Report.

#5 The Irving Family owns 1.25 million acres.

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

#4 Brad Kelley owns 1.5 million acres.


Kelley founded a tobacco company in 1990 and sold it for $1 billion in 2001. His properties span Texas, New Mexico, and Florida and are used to breed rare species of animals.

#3 The Emmerson Family owns 1.86 million acres.

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.

#2 Ted Turner owns 2 million+ acres.

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. This year he bought the historic Sierra Grande Lodge and Spa in Truth or Consequences, NM.

#1 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. This year he added an Irish castle outside Dublin and two properties in Florida’s equestrian country to his holdings.

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