This week’s post highlights information from The Land Report’s annual listing of the top 100 Land Owners in the United States which I find fascinating and I hope it interests you as well.
Down The Road with the Original Buffalo Dale
Welcome back. You may have heard that old expression about land that “they’re not making any more” and this week after a recent visit with Eric O’Keefe I found out about some people who have taken that saying to heart.
Eric is the founder and editor of “The Land Report”, a quarterly magazine that is read coast to coast. Stories about land stewardship and nature make for good reading and the real estate ads for property around the country feature prices that will make you happy to be right where you are. Once a year it also includes a listing of the top 100 land owners in the country.
The big news that Eric was telling me about will appear in this quarter’s issue which is that Ted Turner is no longer the largest land owner in America. John Malone, a 70 year old Denver businessman and chairman of Liberty Media, topped Turner’s little over 2,000,000 acres with total holdings of 2,200,000 acres! Eric says that the two are good friends and that Ted not only inspired John to be a good steward of his land but has also encouraged many of the other owners on the top 100 list to be responsible land managers as well. As three Oklahomans are on this list, as well as several other names you might recognize, I thought I would mention some of the highlights.
Number 7 are the King Ranch heirs with 911,215 acres. Today in addition to ranching and other interests, they operate their School for Ranch Management and their graduates are in high demand.
Number 10 is Stan Kroenke with 740,000 acres. He is also the owner of NFL’s St. Louis Rams, the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, the NHL’s Colorado Rapids and many sports franchisees. Look for Stan to be moving up the list!
At number 17 and based in our area, is the Drummond family with 400,706 acres. 100 years ago brothers Cecil, Gentner and AA started something special when they founded a ranch that today is part of a family dynasty that includes multiple ranches in Oklahoma alone. Conservation is an important part of the family’s cattle and farming operations and they have also become known for their community service.
Former Reebok Chairman and CEO Paul Fireman is listed at number 37 with 247,000 acres which is Jimmy Stewart’s old ranch, the “Wine-Gamble” in Nevada.
David Murdock who is one of the principals in Dole Fruit Company, owns 98% of the Hawaiian island of Lanai as well as thousands of acres on Oahu and holdings in California earning him the number 40 spot with 238,138 acres.
The Hunt family, whose oil business was founded by H.L. Hunt in 1934, is listed at number 51 with 190,000 acres which brings me to another Oklahoman who calls Yukon home.
Last week Bob Funk was quoted in an interview with The Oklahoman as saying that his Express Employment Professionals offices are on track to bring in 2.1 billion dollars in revenue providing job placement services. That my friends is a lot of people put to work! His interest in sport franchisees in Oklahoma long with his philanthropic activities would keep a man half his age busy. As the owner of several ranches in Oklahoma and the famous UU Bar in New Mexico, number 55 with 175,000 acres is Robert A. Funk.
The Piedra Blanca Rancho where the famous Hearst castle is sited comes in at number 63 with 153,000 acres. The Hearst family has become known for their grass fed beef cattle that graze along the coastal prairie.
The Bass family is listed at number 65 with 150,000 acres that include the former Chapman Ranch north of Pawhuska.
Number 90 is the Robinson family with 103,000 acres encompassing the entire Hawaiian island of Niihau and holdings in Kauai.
Last at number 100 is another Oklahoman with 90,574 acres. Aubrey McClendon is the Chairman and CEO of Chesapeake Energy in Oklahoma and this is his first appearance on the list of America’s 100 largest land owners.
Three Oklahoma families among the 100 largest landowners in the whole country, how about that!
That wraps up the largest land owners report from me. Let me know if I left you out.
Till next week I’ll see ya down the road….
P.S. After this article was published a member of the Drummond family contacted me, saying that The Land Report had made an error. Apparently all of the family’s holdings together come to about half of the 440,000 acres mentioned in the story.