Seen as a "safe deposit box with a view," the country's affluent investors are buying up acres at a solid rate, as the top 100 landowners added 700,000 acres in 2012.
A 2013 list of the top 100 landowners includes many recognizable names, from Ted Turner and Stan Kroenke to the Drummond family and Jeff Bezos, Amazon's founder and CEO.
The 33 million total acres owned by the top 100 account for nearly 2 percent of U.S. land mass. The top two landowners, John Malone and Ted Turner, each possess over two million acres. There was a four-way tie for #100, each owning 100,000 acres.
The report is sponsored by Fay Ranches owner Greg Fay. He says the top landowners buy land as a sound investment, but the private land they own also helps produce the food we eat and provides a habitat for fish and wildlife.
"It's refreshing to continue seeing large landowners find value in aggregating their land for conservation and agriculture purposes versus parceling it out and developing it," said land broker Greg Fay, founder of Fay Ranches, which is sponsoring the Land Report 100 for the third straight year and is a longtime supporter of the magazine.
Missouri native Stan Kroenke moved up two spots this year, from number 10 to 8, with the purchase of the historic Broken O Ranch described by Forbes as "one of the largest agricultural operations in the Rocky Mountain West."
Although most of the top 100 landowners house animals on at least some of the land, Amazon's Jeff Bezos uses his 290,000-acre West Texas ranch as a testing site for his aerospace firm, developing reusable space vehicles.