A report released names of the largest landowners across America, I definitely wasn't expecting what I saw when I looked up the state of Illinois.


Who has the largest piece of the 'land' of Lincoln?

The Biggest Landowners in the US

Almost two-thirds of the land in the United States is privately owned, and a surprisingly small amount of individuals and families control a significant amount of this land.

According to the latest Land Report, these are the 5 biggest landowners in the United States:

  1. The Emmerson Family – 2.33 million acres
  2. John Malone – 2.2 million acres
  3. Reed Family – 2.1 million acres
  4. Ted Turner – 2.0 million acres
  5. Stan Kroenke – 1.627 million acres

That same report also revealed that Bill Gates is still America's largest private farmland owner, with almost 269,000 acres. Bill owns 12,000 acres of farmland in Illinois, as well.


The Largest Landowners in Illinois

Let's get to the very surprising landowner data for Illinois. There are 55,593 square miles of dirt and 2,320 square miles of water, making Illinois the 25th-largest state, by land area.

And you'll never guess who owns the largest chunk of that land...

Mormon Temple in Nauvoo, IL (Canva)
Mormon Temple in Nauvoo, IL (Canva)
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1. The Church of Jesus Chris of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church, is the largest landowner in the state of Illinois. That land also happens to be all farmland.

[...] representatives of the church say they see farmland as a good way to protect and steward excess donations to the church — almost a rainy day fund, in case expenditures, ever become greater than donations. (TheSeam.com)


Courtesy of The Seam, here are the rest of the Top10 Landowners in Illinois.

2. The Scully Family. This family has a long land-owning history going back around 500 years. Around their home country of Ireland, some family members were known as landlords without grace.

3. Farmland Partners.

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4. Bill Gates. He's often reported as the largest individual farmland owner in the U.S. and quite a bit of it is central Illinois farmland.

5. Dr. Renato Ribeiro. Soybeans and biodiesel manufacturing

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6. Shahid Khan. The self-made billionaire owns Flex-N-Gate car part maker and the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars.

7. & 8. Premiere Farm Properties and Global Ag Properties USA.

These two entities are deeply connected to the teacher pension fund, TIAA-CREF, according to The Seam.

9. Jimmy John Liautaud. The 'Jimmy' of Jimmy John’s sandwich franchise.

10. Ceres Partners.

LOOK: Here are the 25 best places to live in Illinois

Stacker compiled a list of the best places to live in Illinois using data from Niche. Niche ranks places to live based on a variety of factors including cost of living, schools, health care, recreation, and weather. Cities, suburbs, and towns were included. Listings and images are from realtor.com.

On the list, there's a robust mix of offerings from great schools and nightlife to high walkability and public parks. Some areas have enjoyed rapid growth thanks to new businesses moving to the area, while others offer glimpses into area history with well-preserved architecture and museums. Keep reading to see if your hometown made the list.

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