Meet America's 5 biggest land barons

Top 100 landowners control an area the size of Florida

Jeff Bezos, who spent childhood summers at his grandparents’ Texas ranch, amassed a holding of more than 300,000 acres in the Lone Star state on his way to becoming the world's richest man.

The Amazon CEO still owns the property, in addition to land in California, Washington, D.C., New York and Washington, making him among the 100 largest private landowners in the country. Together, they control a combined 40 million acres of the country, an area roughly the size of Florida.

Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos (Photo by MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

That’s according to the Land Report, which publishes a yearly ranking of the largest private landowners, as measured by total acreage. Estimates are based on information from published reports, online databases, tax records and information provided by landowners.


Bezos, whose holdings earn him 28th place on the list, joins a cadre of wealthy families whose ancestors purchased their property generations ago.

John Malone (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) (Getty)

The largest, with 2.2 million acres, is John Malone, who made his fortune building the company Tele-Communications and serving as its CEO before selling it to AT&T for $50 billion in 1999. Worth $7.3 billion, Malone is the 75th-richest person in the U.S., according to Forbes.

Most of his properties, which include cattle ranches, are in Maine, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming.

Second to Malone is media mogul Ted Turner, best known for founding CNN. Turner owns 2 million acres in 10 different states, and has cultivated a herd of 51,000 bison to restore the species.

The Emmerson family, which controls Sierra Pacific Industries, the country’s second-largest lumber producer, owns roughly 2 million acres of land in California and Washington.

In fourth is the Reed family, which owns 1.7 million acres of land, spanning California, Oregon and Washington. The family founded the logging business Green Diamond Resource in 1890.

Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Stan Kroenke, the real estate mogul and owner of the Los Angeles Rams, owns 1.4 million acres of land in the U.S., including a 124,000-acre ranch in Montana and additional land in Wyoming.