A new survey of the nation's largest land barons—the 2013 Land Report—indicates that the United States' biggest landowners claim 2 percent of the nation, including big acreages in the Intermountain West.
The chairman of Liberty Media, John Malone, tops the list with 2.2. million acres in Wyoming, Colorado, Maine and Florida. Magnate Ted Turner is No. 2 with 2 million acres. Rounding out the top five are the Emmerson family, Brad Kelley and the Irving family.
No. 18 is Idaho's Simplot Family, owning 422,164 acres including 15 ranches in Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Utah, and more than 30 irrigated farms in Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Nevada.
There are several landowners new to this list, including No. 29, Dan and Farris Wilks, billionaire brothers who purchased more than 400 square miles of land, mostly in the eastern Montana. Of particular note, the Wilks property includes Montana's N Bar Ranch, known for its wildlife and fishery resources.
No. 96 is Arthur Nicholas, co-founder of Nicholas Investment Properties, owning Wyoming's historic Wagonhound Land and Livestock. In September, Wagonhound held its first production sale, offering horses with some of the top bloodlines in American Quarter House history.