Amid the warnings of a potential global food shortage due to factors including Russia’s actions in Ukraine, concerns about food security began to grip the public. While the United States hasn’t witnessed nationwide food shortages or significant disruptions in its supply chain, the uncertainty surrounding this issue led to the propagation of baseless rumors. Unfounded claims emerged, attempting to attribute potential food shortages to malicious influences. One such rumor suggested an abnormal increase in fires at food processing facilities, falsely insinuating a deliberate attempt to trigger a food crisis. The reality was far from these claims – the frequency and causes of these fires remained typical, with minimal impact.
As these unsubstantiated rumors gained traction online, they often found a scapegoat in Bill Gates, a target favored by conspiracy theorists. An erroneous narrative revolved around Gates owning a substantial portion of American farmland, with claims asserting he controlled a vast majority, even up to 80%. However, these assertions are patently false. While Gates does possess a significant amount of farmland, he holds around 242,000 acres, making him the largest individual landowner in the US. Yet, this only constitutes a minuscule fraction of the nation’s total farmland – less than 1%.
The motivations behind Gates’ farmland ownership can be traced back to his investment group, Cascade Investments, which began purchasing farmland around 2013. This trend aligns with a broader pattern that emerged after the 2008 financial crisis when investors sought reliable alternatives to traditional assets. In Gates’ case, his land holdings are spread across the country and can be seen as part of a wider trend in farmland investment. Contrary to conspiracy theories, Gates has clarified that his agricultural investments are not connected to climate change initiatives.
Bill Gates, often a subject of misinformation during uncertain times, was also targeted with false claims during the COVID-19 pandemic. These included allegations of microchips in vaccines and mind-altering vaccine designs. Much like these past fabrications, the claims regarding Gates’ extensive farmland ownership lack factual basis.