When compared to other states in America, Louisiana is the 25th largest state by population and the 31st largest state by area. Also known as The Pelican State, Louisiana has a total land area of 52,377sq miles. Interestingly enough, 89.3% of the land in Bayou State is privately owned.

It's true! Even more fascinating is one family owns a massive chunk of that land, and six landowners in Louisiana hold all of it!

# 1 - The Martin Family - 582,000 Acres - Estimated Value = $2,397,258,000

The Martin family runs the Roy O. Martin Lumber Company, which Roy O. Martin III leads. The headquarters is in Alexandria, and since 1923 the lumber company changed the industry's evolution in the U.S. They employ roughly 1,300 employees and operate several subsidiaries making a vast array of products like plywood. This year marks the company's 100th anniversary.

#2 - Bill and Melinda Gates - 70,000 Acres - Estimated Value = $288,330,000

Believe it or not, Bill and Melinda Gates are the 4th largest landowners in Louisiana. Bill Gates is currently worth over $100 billion, and one investment he's made with his billions is buying land all over the United States. Gates owns farmland in an estimated 242,000 acres in 20 states, including 70,000 throughout Louisiana.

During a Q&A on Reddit, the philanthropist was asked why he was buying so much farmland. He said a big reason was because of seed science and biofuel development. The billionaire philanthropist said,

“The agriculture sector is important. With more productive seeds we can avoid deforestation and help Africa deal with the climate difficulty they already face. It is unclear how cheap biofuels can be but if they are cheap it can solve the aviation and truck emissions.”


#3 - Golden Ranch Farms - 52,000 Acres - Estimated Value = $214,188,000

Arlen Benny Cenac Jr., a lifelong resident of Houma, is a Louisiana Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Cenac owns Golden Ranch Farms and is avid of conservation and coastal restoration efforts. Various animals, including Zebras, blackbuck antelope, deer, oryx, Père David’s deer, axis, elk, and sika, call the land home. The ranch is Louisiana’s largest privately owned animal sanctuary.

In addition, Cenac also has a series of flood control structures that help stop saltwater intrusion and coastal erosion at the refuge.

#4 - Foreign Entities - 1,390,000 Acres - Estimated Value $5,725,410,000

Roughly 31% of the 1.4 million acres in Louisiana are owned by Canadian investors and other foreign investors like Dutch, Italian, and German. This includes companies such as Telko, Teal Jones, and more.

Most of these business entities have headquarters located in Beauregard, Vernon, and LaSalle Parishes.


#5 - Land and Trust Louisiana - 10,000 Acres - Estimated Value = $41,190,000

Land Trust Louisiana is highly involved in preserving and protecting the state's land and water. They are all about conservation by improving Louisiana's coastal, forest, and agricultural land. In addition, they are proactive in their approach to improving the ecosystem of inland water and creating partnerships to ensure green spaces are available for recreation.

"As of 2020, over 90% of the water bodies accessed in the state were polluted, so their water wasn’t safe for wildlife and humans interested in drinking it or indulging in watersports like swimming." According to AZ Animals.com

#6 - Federal Lands - 1,330,429 Acres - Estimated Value = 5,480,037,051

Several federal agencies manage hundreds of thousands of public lands in Louisiana for everything from bird-watching to hunting. Like state-owned public lands, these areas offer recreational opportunities like prime hunting and fishing.

A license and permit are required for many activities on federal lands. See individual national land websites listed below and current regulations for more info.

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