When most people hear the name Bill Gates, the first thing that comes to mind is his work at Microsoft, or his climate change and vaccine initiatives. But it’s his investment in a different field that’s now turning heads: Agriculture.
Last year, it was revealed that Bill Gates had become the single largest farmland owner in America. While quietly amassing more American farmland than any other person on Earth, Gates has also positioned himself as one of the leading voices for “synthetic meat” and other meat alternatives — claiming they’re imperative in the fight against climate change.
Here’s the story of what Bill Gates is doing with all that farmland, and how he’s waging a war on meat to line his own pockets — all under the guise of climate activism.
All The Land Money Can Buy
As of last year, Bill Gates owned roughly a quarter million acres of U.S. farmland — nearly the size of Hong Kong. There are 70,000 acres in Louisiana for corn, cotton, and rice and 20,000 acres in Nebraska for soybeans. One of his potato farms is so big you can literally see it from space. Gates’ farmland stretches across 19 states — from North Carolina to Michigan to California — and is valued at nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars.
For years, Gates and his ex-wife Melinda used a series of shell companies to hide their land purchases.
In 2018, for example, a company called Angelina Agriculture purchased approximately $171 million worth of farmland in Washington state. On the surface, Angelina was a small company based in a Louisiana town with 462 people. It had two employees. But according to records, the business was actually under the umbrella of a group called Cascade Investment — a private investment firm controlled by Bill Gates.
Gates is no stranger to agriculture; in the past, his foundation invested tens of millions of dollars into GMO technology. Those transactions included a $27.6 million investment in Monsanto — the agricultural company that would later be forced to pay out over $11 billion in settlements after it was found that some of its products caused cancer.
But Gates’ transition from simply investing in farming technology to becoming the leading owner of farmland itself is even more noteworthy when coupled with his shifting stance on meat.
The New War On Meat
As Gates was amassing swaths of farmland, the billionaire also emerged as one of the world’s most prominent and vociferous voices for synthetic meat and other plant-based alternatives. According to him, the transition away from meat must take place swiftly in order to save the planet from climate change.
“All rich countries should move to 100% synthetic beef,” Gates said during a conversation with MIT’s Technology Review.
It’s so important, he says, that government coercion could be necessary to catalyze the shift. “You can sort of change the [behavior of] people or use regulation to totally shift the demand,” he added bluntly.
In a separate interview with CBS, Gates elaborated: “Unless we can make the cow zero emission, which I’m not sure we can, we do need to get rid of those emissions. It’s not gonna happen overnight. The scale-up and the innovation still required there is quite large.”
If it were up to Bill Gates, the world would abandon meat for synthetic and plant-based alternatives.
But how do you make synthetic meat? And what goes into plant-based alternatives?
Well, it just so happens that “plant-based” meat is typically created with a variety of lentils, potatoes, pea proteins, soy and wheat — all things grown on farmland owned by Gates. Over the last five years, Gates has also invested tens of millions of dollars into leading plant-based meat companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods.
He is also among the single largest investors in “synthetic” or lab-grown meat, pouring tens of millions more into companies like Memphis Meats.
Shifting The Narrative
At the moment, the biggest problem standing in the way of a meatless world is the question of how exactly you get people to leave meat behind. And thanks to Gates, we now have an answer to that question: You convince the world that eliminating meat is necessary for fighting climate change.
While Gates initially argued that the shift away from traditional meat was imperative due to population growth, his new message centers on environmental activism.
Over the last five years, climate activists — with Gates at the forefront — increasingly began claiming the meat industry posed an existential threat to the planet, and that our reliance on cows for food was accelerating climate change.
Waging a war on meat was necessary to save the environment.
In 2019, for example, Gates wrote in his annual letter to friends and followers that the world must cut back on meat because cows “give off methane when they belch and pass gas. (A personal surprise for me: I never thought I’d be writing seriously about bovine flatulence.)”
More recently, in his 2021 book “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster,” Gates elaborated on the supposed threat posed by cows and their dangerous emissions.
Despite the fact that beef cattle account for just 2% of America’s emissions, they’ve found themselves in the crosshairs of the climate-change movement. “Replace cows with environmentally friendly alternatives” has become the prevailing narrative for a growing number of activists, including members of Congress.
But are the proposed alternatives — specifically synthetic meat — actually better for the environment?
Based on existing research, no.
In 2019, the University of Oxford conducted a study measuring the environmental impact of lab-grown meat as opposed to traditional cattle and found that real meat was actually better for the environment. In their words, “We conclude that cultured meat is not prima facie climatically superior to cattle.”
As Marco Springmann, senior environmental researcher at the University of Oxford puts it, “Lab meat doesn’t solve anything from an environmental perspective, since the energy emissions are so high.”
It turns out, giant labs trying to “grow” meat take up quite a bit of energy.
Robb Wolf, a former Research Biochemist and author who has worked with the Navy’s Special Warfare Resiliency Program, agrees. “It is an outright lie that these plant-based alternatives are better for the environment, or are going to reduce carbon footprint or carbon emissions,” he told The Daily Wire.
“This is a key piece that kinda gets missed in this whole story — that tissue needs to be fed. And the stuff that needs to be fed … has to come from somewhere. It doesn’t just magically grow in a vat.”
The Scientific Community Gets On Board
Despite the apparent lack of evidence that these alternatives are better for the environment than meat, the scientific community has largely joined in on the anti-meat crusade.
In addition to their stern warnings regarding meat’s supposed culpability in climate change, a growing faction of scientists has also begun declaring that meat is unhealthy not just for the environment, but for our bodies as well.
According to Wolf, once the war on meat became intertwined with fighting climate change, those in the medical and scientific communities felt pressure to join in, and scientists began touting the supposed benefits of a meat-free diet.
Despite overwhelming evidence that it’s nearly impossible to replicate the nutritional characteristics of meat, the narrative began changing. And even though study after study has shown that meatless diets are far more likely to lead to nutrient deficiencies, they have become all the rage in the scientific community.
Wolf further asserts, “It is well established in the literature that [meatless diets] tend to have pretty significant nutrient deficiencies… But the American Dietetic Association and the American Medical Association have made statements that vegan and vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the human life cycle. And there’s absolutely no data to support that — this is a completely non-evidence-based claim.”
Follow The Money
Despite the fact that diets with regular meat intake result in higher bone density and energy levels as well as better muscle tone, brain health, etc., meat was suddenly deemed not just dangerous to the climate, but dangerous to our health.
Take the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) report, for example. The GBD is the authoritative study on worldwide health each year and influences food policy in nations across the globe.
In 2017, the report claimed that 25,000 deaths globally could be attributed to the consumption of red meat, and that meat was the least important of 15 “dietary risk factors.”
Just two years later, the same report claimed that red meat consumption was responsible for the deaths of 896,000 people and was now ranked fifth out of the 15 dietary risk factors.
According to the GBD, red meat killed 36 times more people in 2019 than in 2017.
The supposed findings were so stunning that six scientists at UC Davis conducted their own assessment, finding that the GBD report was “woefully absent” of any “cold, hard facts.”
The UC Davis scientists, including world-renowned physician Alice V. Stanton, concluded that, “These findings of additional causal relationships for red meat are not in agreement with other recently conducted systematic reviews and meta-analyses.”
In other words, the world’s most important study on health and dietary policy completely contradicted the established literature on the topic.
How did meat suddenly become so deadly, so quickly? What happened in those two years? Could it have anything to do with the new playbook for climate change?
Or could it have anything to do with who funds the GBD report, and others like it?
In 2017, the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) — the coordinating center for the GBD report — announced that it had received a $279 million gift from The Gates Foundation.
According to the University, they and The Gates Foundation, “share a vision — a world where all people can achieve their full potential — and through our partnerships we will improve the health and well-being of people here and around the globe.”
As the Gates Foundation puts it, “The funding will sustain IHME’s efforts as the coordinating center for the Global Burden of Disease project.”