Ranking 30th in state size at just over 50 thousand square miles, you may be wondering who the largest landowner in Alabama is. This question comes with a much more complicated answer than you might expect. When it comes to comparing the single largest landowner with the actual largest landowners in this state, the figures are vastly different.
Today, we’ll discuss who owns the most land in Alabama, what type of land it is, and why they own so much of it. Plus, we’ll shine a light on a single corporation that also owns a great deal of forested land in Alabama– though not nearly as much land as our top landowners!
So, who truly owns the most land in the state of Alabama? The answer to that question is foreign and overseas investors.
The Largest Landowner in Alabama: Investors from Around the World
Following Texas and Maine, Alabama comes third in the US for the most agricultural land owned by foreign investors. These investors own roughly 1.8 million acres in the state of Alabama.
According to the USDA, foreign investors own approximately 3% of all agricultural land in the United States. While these investors hail from around the world, certain locations own more land than others, particularly in Alabama.
Where is the Largest Landowner in Alabama Located?
The USDA states that the Netherlands, Germany, Canada, Italy, and the United Kingdom own the most agricultural land in the United States. A combination of investors make up the 1.8 million acres owned in this state, detailed here.
|Foreign Investor||Land Owned in Alabama (Acres)|
|Other Locations (Unknown)||474,000|
Out of the 32 million acres of agricultural land found in Alabama, roughly 28 million acres are privately owned. Compared to all private agricultural land owned in the state of Alabama, foreign investors own approximately 6% of all private agricultural purchases.
Only 1.8 million acres of this 28 million-acre figure are owned by foreign companies, but it’s still a great deal of acreage to consider! But what comprises these 1.8 million acres? What have so many foreign investors chosen to invest in?
1.8 Million Acres: What the Largest Landowner in Alabama Actually Owns
Forests and timberland are the primary investments held by the largest landowner in Alabama. In fact, 1.7 million acres of forests are owned by foreign investors, with cropland, other agricultural needs, and pastureland following suit.
Alabama is full of forests, if you weren’t aware. This state is nearly 70% forested land, with Alabama’s timber forests increasing in size annually based on new growth. In terms of the counties with the most foreign-owned agricultural land in Alabama, Monroe, Marion, Butler, and Baldwin rank highest.
Other Land Investments Made By the Largest Landowner in Alabama
In terms of the foreign investors who have invested the most into agricultural land in Alabama, the Netherlands tops the charts. The Netherlands has made the majority of its agricultural land investments in Alabama specifically, with Michigan, Arkansas, and Texas following suit.
Canada owns a great deal of agricultural land in the United States. Most of their investments reside in Maine, Texas, Washington, and Colorado, in that order. In fact, Alabama sits roughly in the middle of Canada’s state agricultural investments when it comes to acreage.
Besides a variety of other unknown foreign investors, the United Kingdom owns the next largest amount of Alabama agricultural acreage. However, they generally own more acres in California, Washington, and New Mexico. The UK owns hundreds of thousands more acres in these states compared to what they own in Alabama!
Weyerhaeuser: the Largest Single-Corporation Landowner in Alabama
Besides the Federal Government, the Weyerhaeuser Company owns the most land in the state of Alabama. They also own a great deal of land throughout the United States. The company started with nearly a million acres of Washington timber forest back in the year 1900.
Now, over 100 years later, Weyerhaeuser owns approximately 12 million US acres with another 14 million acres in Canada. They own roughly 600,000 acres of Alabama forests, forests that they sustainably harvest from and utilize for their lumber division.
While both foreign and US-based investors own a great deal of land in Alabama, these investments have the potential to be positive. According to the Alabama Department of Commerce, foreign investments, both in land and business, have contributed to financial growth throughout the state, particularly in rural areas.
However, like all investments, particularly ones made by investors residing outside of the United States, such investments in Alabama have caused quite a stir. In fact, Alabama is currently working on a bill that would restrict future foreign agricultural investments in the state.
No matter what, Alabama has acres upon acres of agricultural land, including forests and government-protected areas. Regardless of ownership, this state remains a beautiful, natural marvel full of possibilities!
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Bennian/Shutterstock.com
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.