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Largest US landowner?

Milo Yield
Laugh Tracks in the Dust, Damphewmore Acres, Kan.

I read an article recently about the largest farmland owners in the U.S. I wuzn’t surprised to discover that the largest farmland owner owned almost a quarter of a million acres. But I wuz surprised to find out who the owners were — none other than Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda.

Those astute agriculturists own farmland in several states, but they own the most in Louisiana — more than 69,000 acres. After years of reports that he was purchasing agricultural land in places like Florida and Washington, the Land Report revealed that Gates, who has a net worth of nearly $121 billion, has built up a massive farmland portfolio spanning 18 states. His largest holdings are in Louisiana (69,071 acres), Arkansas (47,927 acres) and Nebraska (20,588 acres). Additionally, he has a stake in 25,750 acres of transitional land on the west side of Phoenix, Ariz., which is being developed as a new suburb.

The article did not say what the Gates plan to do with all their farmland, but I’ll be surprised if their sole reason is to just raise crops and livestock for profit. Perhaps, they’re planning on giving away all the food they produce — after all, they are among the world’s biggest philanthropists.



***

Our fearless leaders have done a lot of fence building recently in Washington, D.C. Protective fence was built around the White House, around Congress, around the national mall. As an aside, isn’t it interesting how well fences work in D.C. and not on our borders?



I’ve discovered from my secret insiders in the capital how that fencing wuz built.

First, three contractors made bids to build all the fencing the government required. One is from Chicago, another is from Virginia, and the third is from a company in New Orleans. All three go with a government overseer and inspector to survey the fencing sites.

The New Orleans contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil. “Well,” he says, “I figure the job will run about $9,000,000 — that’s for materials, for my crew and profit for me.”

The Virginia contractor also does some measuring and figuring, then says, “I can do this job for $8-million — that’s includes all materials, labor and profit margin.

The Chicago contractor doesn’t measure or figure, but leans over to the government official and says “I can do the whole job for $15 million.”

“How did you come up with such a high figure?” the government official says in astonishment.

The Chicago contractor whispers back, “You let the contract to me and I’ll hire the Virginia guy to build the fence and I’ll split the balance with you.”

“Done deal!” replies the government official enthusiastically. “The contract is yours and here’s my address.”

And that, my friends, is how the government construction works.

***

I’m having slow computer problems this week, so I’m gonna take the easy way out and fill out this column with some comments to ponder if you consider yourself a deep thinker.

• Do twins ever realize that one of them was unplanned?

• What if my dog only brings back my ball because he thinks I like throwing it?

• If poison expires, is it more poisonous or is it no longer poisonous?

• Which letter is silent in the word “Scent,” the S or the C?

• Why is the letter W, in English, called double U? Shouldn’t it be called double V?

• Maybe oxygen is slowly killing you and it just takes 75-100 years to fully work.

• Every time you clean something, you just make something else dirty.

• The word “swims” upside-down is still “swims.”

• Intentionally losing a game of rock, paper, and scissors is just as hard as trying to win.

• 100 years ago everyone owned a horse and only the rich had cars. Today everyone has a car and only the rich own horses.

• Your future self is watching you right now through memories.

• If you replace “W” with “T” in “What, Where and When,” you get the answer to each of them.

• Many animals probably need glasses, but nobody knows it.

• If you rip a hole in a net, there are actually fewer holes in it than there were before.

• A hundred years ago a $20 bill and a $20 gold piece were interchangeable. Either one would buy a bunch of nice stuff. Today, a $20 gold piece will still buy a bunch of nice stuff, but a $20 bill won’t buy a good prime steak in a restaurant.

***

And, my final thought of wisdom is this: “Why are pampered dogs such loveable pets? It seems to me it would be hard to love someone who spayed or neutered you.”

And, my final thought of wisdom for the week: “Always be yourself. Those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.”

Have a good ‘un and always keep hoping for the best.


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Milo Yield

A wedding tale

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We’re approaching June, which seems to be the traditional wedding month, so it’s appropriate and timely to relate a supposedly true rural wedding tale.



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