The largest landowners in Illinois 2023 list is topped by a cattle rancher with close to 1 million acres. I was also surprised to see who was at number three.

A report released names of the largest landowners across America, I was surprised with what I saw when looking up the state of Illinois.


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. That number is growing all the time.

The Largest Landowners in Illinois in 2023


Let's get to the very surprising landowner data for Illinois from There are 55,593 square miles of dirt and 2,320 square miles of water, making Illinois the 25th-largest state, by land area. Illinois is approximately 37 million acres and close to 1 million acres are owned by one man.

1. Larry Goodman

Larry owns 800,000 acres of land primarily used for cattle ranching. He owns a very large meat processing company with plants all over the world.

2. Joe Ritchie

If you ever wondered if there's money to be made in auctioneering, here's your answer. Joe owns Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers, the largest industrial auctioneer in the world. Joe owns 72,000 acres of Illinois land that is primarily used for farming.

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3. The Church of Jesus Chris of Latter-day Saints,

You may know the church by its more common name, the Mormon Church. The church owns the largest landed area in Illinois, 38,000 acres.

Mormon Temple in Nauvoo, IL (Canva)
Mormon Temple in Nauvoo, IL (Canva)
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[...] 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. (



4. Mark Rockefeller

Mark is a member of the famous Rockefeller family, and he owns Rock Creek Cattle. And, like Larry Goodman, Mark uses his 35,000 acres mostly for cattle ranching.

5. Shahid Khan

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The self-made billionaire owns Flex-N-Gate car part maker, the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars, and 24,000 acres of Illinois land.

6. Michael Polsky

Michael is in the renewable energy business. His company, Invenergy, uses his 22,000 acres primarily for wind energy projects

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7. Bill Gates

TIME100 Summit 2022
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Bill is often reported as the largest individual farmland owner in the U.S. and quite a bit of it is central Illinois farmland, 17,940 acres to be exact.

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8. Farmland Partners

Farmland Partners is a private real estate company in the farmland acquisition business. At present, they have acquired 12,070 acres of land.

9. Mike Kim

Mike has a lending company called, Credibly, and so far he has acquired 2,500 acres of land primarily used for agriculture.

10. Eric Trump

The son of Donald Trump owns the Trump Winery and the 2,000 acres of Illinois land he owns is used for vineyards.

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

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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