Wednesday, February 4, 2015

100 Largest US Land Owners

Who owns the most land in your neighborhood?  Is it over 1,000, 10,000 acres or even more?  Here is an interesting read on the 100 largest US land owners.

I know one local farmer who owns around 5,000 acres of farmland.  That's pretty good in southwest Ohio.  He started dairying when I started teaching school and plowed all of his spare money into farmland.  He has done real well.  There are several similar cases around these parts but that's the largest I know of.  I don't think anyone has ever compiled such a list of land owners in Ohio.

Several farms in Ohio have been held in the same family for over 100 or 200 years.  "Property deeds for Ohio’s 200-year-old farms bear the signatures of some of the nation’s first presidents: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

Having a deed signed by President Jefferson and Secretary of State Madison doesn’t faze James “ Bob” Fagan, who came by his 227-acre farm in Fairfield County by way of his great-great-great-grandfather, Luke Decker.

“I live in a museum. That’s a fact,” said Fagan, who goes by his middle name. “There’s an awful lot of history here. We’re still discovering things that show us what it was like way back in the beginning.”

Ohio has certified 65 farms as “bicentennial” — having been in one family for at least 200 years. The Ohio Department of Agriculture recognized owners of some of those farms at county fairs this summer and fall.

The goal of the Ohio Century and Bicentennial Farm program is to recognize farming families for their agricultural contributions, said Cindy Winegardner Shy, the program’s manager.

“Their stories are historically rich and compelling, and we know that they are the basis for today’s agricultural industry,” she said in an email.

In central Ohio, Fairfield County has the most bicentennial farms — six. Pickaway County has three; Franklin, one.

Ohio has 73,400 farms, according to the agriculture department. Those farms produced $8.8 billion in economic output and employed more than 93,000 people in 2010, according to Ohio State University.
Owners of the farms are quick to talk about how their ancestors traveled west on horseback or in ox-drawn wagons to buy hundreds of acres in the Ohio River Base for a few dollars apiece."

I don't know how this farm or mom's farm, where two generations of Winkle's were raised, were settled but I bet it's an interesting story.

Ed Winkle


  1. What criteria does it have to be to fall into 1 family owned? Have to be same last name? Or can it be a direct decendent?

    1. Direct descendant, many 100 and 200 year awards have a different last name. I think my friend Joe in coastal North Carolina is over 250 years and pushing 300. Some in Pennsylvania are too.

  2. Ed in around'83 we headed North from FSR grain bin site and stopped maybe 25 miles and there was 3 -1460 IH combines harvesting corn and talking with the guys in the field they said the farm was 6,500 acres that was part of a land grant from the Civil War to some Military General and the guys farming it now had bought it during the '70's boom and then lost it and was renting it back from the ins. co. holding the note...he said those large land grants were common for Military brass. We had a Col. Gregory in our toen from I think NC. were they had a large tobacco/beef farm and also owned maybe 10k acres scatered across southern Ontario -regards-kevin in Ontario

    1. Two brothers sold their farm near Cincinnati Kevin and moved near there 30 years ago or so. I think they traded about 1 to 10 so 100 ac became 1000 acres. One brother was in college when I was. I think the prize Super C Farmall became an 806.