It’s the first time Gates has publicly commented on land purchases made by entities associated with him and his wife Melinda since they were named as the top private owners of U.S. farmland by acreage earlier this year.
Gates was speaking to Redditors during an event marking the release of his new book, ‘How to Avoid a Climate Disaster.’
Responding to the question, “Hey Bill! Why are you buying so much farmland?” posed by one Reddit user, Gates indicated that seed science and biofuel development were major drivers of the acquisitions.
“My investment group chose to do this. It is not connected to climate,” he wrote.
“The agriculture sector is important. With more productive seeds we can avoid deforestation and help Africa deal with the climate difficulty they already face. It is unclear how cheap biofuels can be but if they are cheap it can solve the aviation and truck emissions.”
This is part of a broader 269,000-acre land portfolio belonging to the couple and associated entities across 19 states, with the largest holdings in Louisiana (69,071 acres), Arkansas (47,927 acres), and Arizona (25,750 acres).
A spokesperson for Cascade Investment — a firm chaired and controlled by Bill Gates, and possibly what he was referring to as “my investment group” on Reddit — declined to comment on specific land holdings at the time. However, they told The Land Report that Cascade is “very supportive of sustainable farming.”
For more, continue reading at AgFunderNews.com.