15 million acres and counting: These tycoons, families are the largest landowners in the US


Each year, The Land Report documents the biggest landowners in America. To make it into the top 10 for the most recent year, you'd have to own nearly 1 million acres. No. 1 on the list, the Emmerson family, accumulated their wealth through the lumber business. Family owned and run Sierra Pacific Industries is the largest private lumber production firm in the nation, according to Forbes.

American Billionaire John Malone, follows on the list. He built a fortune in the media business and owns a reported 2.2 million acres.

10. King Ranch Heirs     • Land area owned:  911,215 acres

More than half of the individuals and families on the top 10 list own sprawling ranches in places like Wyoming, New Mexico, and Texas.

Stan Kroenke — owner of the Los Angeles Rams, Denver Nuggets, and other sports franchises — bought the 535,000-acre Waggoner Ranch in 2016, which spans six Texas counties.

These individuals and families own the most private land, here's how they accumulated their wealth:

1. Emmerson family

•​​​​​​​ Land area: 2,411,000 acres

•​​​​​​​ Roughly equal to: Twice the size of Grand Canyon National Park

The Emmerson family owns and operates Sierra Pacific Industries, a company that logs usable lumber after forest fires and sells it to lumber retailers. Through Sierra Pacific, the family owns some 2.4 million acres in California, Oregon and Washington.

2. John Malone

•​​​​​​​ Land area: 2,200,000 acres

•​​​​​​​ Roughly equal to: About the size of Yellowstone National Park

John Malone is the largest private landowner in the United States. Malone made his fortune as a media tycoon, building the company Tele-Communications, Inc, or TCI, and acting as its CEO before selling it to AT&T for $50 billion in 1999. Malone's 2.2 million acres are largely located in Maine, New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming and include profitable cattle ranches.

3. Ted Turner

•​​​​​​​ Land area: 2,000,000 acres

•​​​​​​​ Roughly equal to: About a third of Vermont

CNN founder Ted Turner owns 2 million acres of land largely in New Mexico, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Georgia. Much of Turner's land is used as grazing land for over 50,000 head of buffalo – the largest private bison herd in the world.

4. Stan Kroenke

•​​​​​​​ Land area: 1,700,000 acres

•​​​​​​​ Roughly equal to: About half the size of Connecticut

Real estate mogul and owner of the Los Angeles Rams, Stan Kroenke, owns 1.7 million acres of land in the United States, including a 124,000-acre ranch in Montana and additional land in Wyoming. Kroenke is married to Ann Walton Kroenke, an heiress to the Walmart fortune.

5. Reed family

•​​​​​​​ Land area: 1,661,000 acres

•​​​​​​​ Roughly equal to: More than twice the size of Yosemite National Park

For five generations, the Reed family has owned and operated the logging company Green Diamond Resource Co. The family's 1.6 million acres of land are primarily spread across Washington, Oregon, and California.

For the top 100 landowners in the U.S., see the 2024 Land Report.

24/7 Wall Street contributed to this reporting

Pipeline Observer


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