Investing in rural, undeveloped land continues to be a popular strategy among the affluent, according to the 2013 Land Report 100, the latest annual survey and ranking of the largest private landowners in the United States published by The Land Report and presented by Fay Ranches.
Increasingly seen as a "safe deposit box with a view," acreages continue to be purchased by leading landowners at solid rates. In 2012, the country's top 100 landowners cumulatively increased their private holdings by 700,000 acres to a total of 33 million acres, nearly 2 percent of U.S. land mass.
Liberty Media Chairman John Malone and his 2.2 million acres under ownership topped the Land Report 100 list, which focuses exclusively on deeded acreage owned by individuals, families, family-owned companies and family-controlled foundations and excludes leased and public lands.
Malone edged out Ted Turner, who currently possesses more than 2 million land acres.
Rounding out the top five in order were: the Emmerson family, Brad Kelley and the Irving family.
The 2013 edition of the Land Report 100 presented by Fay Ranches can be downloaded by clicking here.
There are several landowners new to this year's 100 list, including No. 28, Dan and Farris Wilks, billionaire brothers who recently purchased more than 400 square miles of land, mostly in the eastern half of Montana. Oil field services entrepreneurs, the Wilks brothers own the prized N Bar Ranch in Montana, which is known for its wildlife and fishery resources.
Another new addition to the Land Report 100 presented by Fay Ranches is No. 96, Arthur Nicholas. The co-founder of Nicholas Investment Properties owns Wyoming's historic Wagonhound Land and Livestock, an American Quarter Horse Association Ranching Heritage Breeder.