McDonald's fries
Sean Cate
Sean Cate
September 11, 2023 ·  3 min read

The Potatoes for McDonald’s fries are grown on Bill Gates’ farmland

You probably don’t think about its origins when you indulge in delicious McDonald’s fries. However, it might surprise you that the potatoes for those iconic fries are connected to none other than Bill Gates. In this article, we’ll explore the intriguing link between Bill Gates and the potatoes that find their way into McDonald’s fries, shedding light on his vast farmland holdings and the implications of his agricultural investments.

The Potato Mogul: From Spuds to McDonald’s Fries

Bill Gates, renowned for his contributions to the tech industry and philanthropy, has quietly become the largest private farmland owner in the United States.1 With a whopping 269,000 acres of fertile land spread across 18 states, Gates’ agricultural empire is a far cry from the tech-centric image most people associate with him.2

But what’s the connection between Bill Gates and those golden McDonald’s fries? It turns out that a substantial portion of his farmland is dedicated to potato cultivation. In fact, some of these potato fields are so vast that they can be seen from outer space.

While Bill Gates has dedicated significant resources to climate-related issues, his potato patches are primarily viewed as lucrative investments rather than eco-conscious endeavors. In a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA), he clarified that his investment group made the decision to venture into agriculture, emphasizing that it wasn’t directly linked to climate initiatives.

Farming on a Grand Scale

The scale of Gates’ farmland holdings is truly staggering, with properties ranging from 70,000 acres in Louisiana, where soybeans, corn, cotton, and rice flourish, to 20,000 acres in Nebraska, known for its soybean production.3 However, it’s in Washington State where the connection to McDonald’s fries becomes apparent.

Gates owns over 14,000 acres of farmland in Washington State, home to potato fields so immense that they’re visible from space. These potatoes play a crucial role in McDonald’s fries, making Gates an indirect contributor to your fast-food cravings.

It’s worth noting that while Bill Gates may have a penchant for fast food, his burger of choice comes from a Washington-based chainlet called Burgermaster. Nonetheless, his investment in potato farming highlights the diverse nature of his agricultural interests.

Read: Bill Gates Attempts to Explain Why He Bought More Farmland Than Anyone Else in America

Which Gates Gets the McDonald’s Fries?

As Bill and Melinda Gates navigate their divorce and property division, their vast farmland holdings remain a significant point of interest. With Bill Gates ranked as the fourth-richest person globally, the implications of this divorce extend beyond personal matters.

Interestingly, the Gateses’ holdings represent just a fraction of the total American farmland, with approximately 40% owned by individuals aged 65 or older. This demographic trend suggests that more farmland will come on the market in the near future. And while the prospect of available farmland might seem promising, it raises concerns for young farmers. Competition from nonfarmers, including savvy investors like Bill Gates, can drive up prices and hinder the aspirations of those seeking to enter the agricultural sector.

Investing in farmland is not exclusive to Bill Gates; financial giants like Prudential and Hancock have specialized divisions for farmland investments. This trend is driven by the appeal of farmland as a countercyclical asset, remaining relatively stable even during economic downturns.


The unexpected connection between Bill Gates and the potatoes in your McDonald’s fries serves as a reminder of the multifaceted nature of his investments. As he navigates the complexities of divorce and property division, his vast farmland holdings continue to draw attention. For young farmers and investors alike, the future of American agriculture remains a dynamic landscape shaped by individuals like Bill Gates.

Keep Reading: Bill Gates Openly Disagrees With One of Elon Musk’s Major Life Goals


  1. Bill Gates is a potato farmer, hoeing for McDonald’s fries.” NY Post. Michael Kaplan. June 11, 2021.
  2. Potatoes for McDonald’s fries are reportedly grown on Bill Gates’ farmland in fields so vast that you can see them from space.” Business Insider. Mary Hanbury. June 10, 2021
  3. McDonald’s french fries, carrots, onions: all of the foods that come from Bill Gates farmland.” NBC News. April Glaser. June 8, 2021