Two Irish American men were in the top five landowners in the United States. John Malone was listed as number one and Brad Kelley was listed as number four in the Land Report 100.
Both Irish Americans have invested in large tracts of land after making their fortunes in other industries.They likewise both have invested in cattle ranches within their land holdings.
Malone is a cable tycoon and owns 2.2 million acres between Wyoming and Maine. A highlight is a 290,100 acre cattle ranch called Bell Rance.
Kelley made his fortune from discount cigarettes and owns about 1.5 million acres, much of which is used for cattle ranching. Kelley is known as a bit of a reclusive billionaire and drives a pick-up truck.
Land has become an attractive asset because land prices are rebounding. Many people are looking for tangible assets after the market drop in 2008. Dennis Moon, managing director and head of specialty asset management at U.S. Trust, a division of Bank of America, said an important incentive to buy land is production. Products may range from timber, beef, or crops and recreation, such as hunting or fishing, adds value to the land.
Moon told CNBC, “There’s a lot more interest in land. Way back when, owning a lot of land meant you were among the wealthiest individuals in the United States. We’re kind of seeing a return to that.”
The people of America are not the only ones turning back to the land. The change comes around the same time as many young Irish are looking towards careers in farming and agriculture following the fall of the Celtic Tiger in recent years.