Bill Gates has quietly made himself the largest owner of farmland in the United States. For a man obsessed with monopoly control, the opportunity to also dominate food production must seem irresistible.
“Gates has a Napoleonic concept of himself, an appetite that derives from power and unalloyed success, with no leavening hard experience, no reverses.” — Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, presiding judge in the Gates/Microsoft antitrust-fraud case
The global lockdowns that Bill Gates helped orchestrate and cheerlead have bankrupted more than 100,000 businesses in the U.S. alone and plunged a billion people into poverty and deadly food insecurity that, among other devastating harms, kill 10,000 African children monthly — while increasing Gates’ wealth by $20 billion. His $133 billion fortune makes him the world’s fourth wealthiest man.
Gates has been using that newfound cash to expand his power over global populations by buying devalued assets at fire-sale prices and maneuvering for monopoly control over public health, privatizing prisons, online education and global communications while promoting digital currencies, high tech surveillance, data harvesting systems and artificial intelligence.
For a man obsessed with monopoly control, the opportunity to also dominate food production must seem irresistible.
According to the newest issue of The Land Report, Gates has quietly made himself the largest owner of farmland in the United States. Gates’ portfolio now comprises about 242,000 acres of American farmland and nearly 27,000 acres of other land across Louisiana, Arkansas, Nebraska, Arizona, Florida, Washington and 18 other states.
Thomas Jefferson believed that the success of America’s exemplary struggle to supplant the yoke of European feudalism with a noble experiment in self-governance depended on the perpetual control of the nation’s land base by tens of thousands of independent farmers, each with a stake in our democracy.
So at best, Gates’ campaign to scarf up America’s agricultural real estate is a signal that feudalism may again be in vogue. At worst, his buying spree is a harbinger of something far more alarming — the control of global food supplies by a power-hungry megalomaniac with a Napoleon complex.
Let’s explore the context of Gates’ stealth purchases as part of his long-term strategy of mastery over agriculture and food production globally.
Beginning in 1994, Gates launched an international biopiracy campaign to achieve vertically integrated dominion over global agricultural production. His empire now includes vast agricultural lands and hefty investments in GMO crops, seed patents, synthetic foods, artificial intelligence including robotic farm workers, and commanding positions in food behemoths including Coca-Cola, Unilever, Philip Morris (Kraft, General Foods), Kellogg’s, Procter & Gamble and Amazon (Whole Foods), and in multinationals like Monsanto and Bayer that market chemical pesticides and petrochemical fertilizers.
As usual, Gates coordinates these personal investments with taxpayer-subsidized grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the richest and most powerful organization in all of international aid, his financial partnerships with Big Ag, Big Chemical, and Big Food, and his control of international agencies — including some of his own creation — with awesome power to create captive markets for his products.
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, a protégé and partner to David Rockefeller, observed that, “Who controls the food supply controls the people.” In 2006, the Bill & Melinda Gates and Rockefeller Foundations launched the $424 million Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) promising to double crop productivity and boost incomes for 30 million small farmers by 2020 while cutting food insecurity in half.
Characteristically, Gates’ approach to global problems put technology and his chemical, pharmaceutical and oil industry partners at the center of every solution. As it turned out, Gates’ “innovative strategy” for food production was to force America’s failed system of GMO, chemical and fossil fuel-based agriculture on poor African farmers.
African agricultural practices have evolved from the land over 10,000 years in forms that promote crop diversity, decentralization, sustainability, private property, self-organization and local control of seeds. The personal freedom inherent in these localized systems leaves farm families making their own decisions: the masters on their lands, the sovereigns of their destinies. Continuous innovation by millions of small farmers maximized sustainable yields and biodiversity.
In his ruthless reinvention of colonialism, Gates spent $4.9 billion dollars to dismantle this ancient system and replace it with high-tech corporatized and industrialized agriculture, chemically dependent monocultures, extreme centralization and top-down control. He forced small African farms to transition to imported commercial seeds, petroleum fertilizers and pesticides.
Gates built the supply chain infrastructure for chemicals and seeds and pressured African governments to spend huge sums on subsidies and to use draconian penalties and authoritarian control to force farmers to buy his expensive inputs and comply with his diktats. Gates made farmers replace traditional nutritious subsistence crops like sorghum, millet, sweet potato and cassava with high-yield industrial cash crops, like soy and corn, which benefit elite commodity traders but leave poor Africans with little to eat. Both nutrition and productivity plummeted. Soils grew more acidic with every application of petrochemical fertilizers.
As with Gates’ African vaccine enterprise, there was neither internal evaluation nor public accountability. The 2020 study “False Promises: The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)” is the report card on the Gates’ cartel’s 14-year effort. The investigation concludes that the number of Africans suffering extreme hunger has increased by 30 percent in the 18 countries that Gates targeted. Rural poverty has metastasized dramatically, and the number of hungry people in these nations has risen to 131 million.
Under Gates’ plantation system, Africa’s rural populations have become slaves on their own land to a tyrannical serfdom of high-tech inputs, mechanization, rigid schedules, burdensome conditionalities, credits and subsidies that are the defining features of Bill Gates’ “Green Revolution.”
The only entities benefiting from Gates’ program are his international corporate partners — and particularly Monsanto, in which the Gates Foundation Trust purchased 500,000 shares worth $23 million in 2010 (but later divested those shares after pressure from civil society groups). Gates himself even filmed commercials for Monsanto’s GMOs, touting them as the “solution” to world hunger.
In a typical example of Gates’ strange largess, his foundation apparently made his taxpayer-subsidized “charitable” grants amounting to $10 million to the Big Ag behemoth, Cargill, to build his supply chains for GMO soy in South Africa. Africans call Gates’ program “Neocolonialism” or “Corporate Colonialism.”
The AGRA Watch initiative of Seattle-based Community Alliance for Global Justice follows Gates’ agricultural and food policies. According to Heather Day, an AGRA Watch spokesperson, AGRA is a trojan horse for corporate kleptocracy.
“The Gates Foundation and AGRA claim to be ‘pro-farmer,’ ‘pro-poor’ and ‘pro-environment,’” Day told me. “But their approach is closely aligned with transnational corporations, like Monsanto, and foreign policy actors like USAID [United States Agency for International Development].They take advantage of food and global climate crises to promote high-tech, centralized, industrial agriculture that generate profits for Gates’ corporate partners while degrading the environment and disempowering farmers. Their programs are a dark form of philanthrocapitalism based on biopiracy and corporate biopiracy.”