Bill Gates Buying Iowa Farmland: the full story

Bill Gates and state of Iowa illustration

How much farmland does Bill Gates own in Iowa? The founder of Microsoft owns 600 acres of Iowa farmland. The reason why is probably not what you think. As an agricultural state that takes a lot of pride in our state’s farmland, Iowans want to know what’s going on. It may seem suspicious, says Peter Jaques, formerly of Farmland Finder (acquired), but many reasons he’s interested. Perhaps Iowa soil is a bit more valuable than we realize.

Listen on Apple Podcast Badge
Listen on Spotify Badge

Why Bill Gates is Buying Iowa Farmland

There are a few conspiracy theories as to why Gates is buying so much farmland. Some believe he is trying to control and manipulate the United States food sources. Others say he is trying to manipulate the food market. There are also theories he is trying to move the United States away from beef towards plant-based diets. 

As a country, our legislators are making a noticeable effort to switch over to more sustainable energy, so some theorize he is investing in the newly evolving carbon market. Many top dogs believe that carbon energy is the next big renewable energy source in the years to come, and this could be the exact reason Bill Gates is currently purchasing farmland. Their theories are all interesting but Jaques personally believes the answer is more straightforward.

Stuff in Iowa you don’t know about?

The Iowa Podcast keeps you informed on stuff even locals are unaware of. Enter your email address, and we will send you a weekly 30 min interview with an Iowan shaping our state’s future.

Iowa Farmland as an Investment Opportunity

Peter Jaques, formerly of Farmland Finder
Peter Jaques

Land is a major investment. It offers owners a way to store wealth, and in today’s market, it’s almost guaranteed owners will get a 10% return when the land is eventually sold, said Jaques. These gains are attractive, especially in a tumultuous market. 

The investment is beneficial, especially if you’re actively farming the property. Gates’ farmland is producing crops no different than your average Iowan farmer, likely being rented by Iowa farmers. Most farmers rent 40% to 50% of the fields that they farm, according to Jaques, he believes we will continue to see those numbers climb. Gates is rotating his fields with corn and beans, not laying plans for a data center, said Jaques, who visited Gates’ farmland. 

Because Iowa farmland is attractive to investors, does this mean we will see a wave of outside interest and New York City investment firms visiting? Not necessarily. Iowa legislation is blocking big companies from buying up the land, explains Jaques. He says there’s a good chance the person we pass on the road is the person who owns and or farms that land. This legislation is a way to protect generational farmers from the competition of major corporations from outgrowing and out producing them. 

New! Iowa Ag Podcast

Don’t miss our new show on, the Iowa Ag Podcast! Get critical Iowa Agriculture topics on your phone.

Iowa sets the tone

As the United States continues to watch Iowa for farmland prices, what is the future of farmland from a financial perspective in the United States? Jacques has no crystal ball, but it’s safe to say that big corporations will not be able to purchase major farmland anytime soon, and Iowa farmland prices will continue to be a secure investment. As for those who do own farmland right now, Jaques final piece of advice is this: keep your property and get to know your farmers. The farm rent business is the place to be with some of the smartest, most well-informed business owners in the country. 

Perhaps this is why, according to Front Office Sports “Joe Burrow, Blake Griffin, Kevin Gausman, Anders Lee, and around 20 other athletes are purchasing a farm in Iowa

Connect with Peter here

Find out more about real estate here

Subscribe to Peter’s podcast, Iowa Ag Podcast

More Interviews on The Iowa Podcast