Jun 14, 2021
Bill Gates and potatoes: Billionaire owns Washington land that grows spuds for McDonald’s

Bill and Melinda Gates’ ownership of hundreds of thousands American farmland has drawn media attention of late. That includes 14,000 of acres in Washington that grows potatoes for McDonald’s fries.

Bill Gates in 2017. Photo: Kuhlmann/MSC

Billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates, who are in the process of divorcing and dividing their assets, are well known for their philanthropy and environmental activism. Bill Gates’ latest book, titled “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster,” is largely focused on eliminating greenhouse gas emissions.

According to a recent NBC News story, Gates does not take an active role in managing how the farmland operates. “My investment group chose to do this,” Gates said on Reddit.

The potato operation owned by Gates’ firm is 100 Circle Farms, located near the Columbia River in Patterson, Washington. According to McDonald’s website, potatoes produced by 100 Circle Farms are then processed by Lamb Weston into fries.

According to the Tri-City Herald, 100 Circle Farms changed hands in 2018 in a $171 million deal to a Louisiana investor. Further reporting by agriculture.com showed the deal was linked to the Gateses’ investment firm.


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