These 20 entities own the most U.S. land in 2018

From massive timberland operations and religious bodies to colossal ranches and cattle barons, these 20 entities remind us why land was the original American dream.

Jay Mark Hendrix
Largest Organizational Landowners

Every year the Land Report 100 is published revealing America's 100 largest individual landowners, but have you ever wondered what entities own the most land in the United States? We did our own research to find out which companies and bodies have acquired more U.S. acreage than anyone else. If you have aspirations of becoming a landowner or are looking to expand your current landholdings, head over to our land for sale and see if anything catches your eye.

To make our list, certain criteria had to be met. If you see a business or body that you think should be on the list that didn’t make it, it’s probably because it didn’t meet our requirements and was tossed out as a possibility. From massive timberland operations and religious bodies to colossal ranches and cattle barons, these 20 entities own the most United States land as of July 2018.

  • 1. Weyerhaeuser12,412,000 acres
  • 2. Rayonier2,174,000 acres
  • 3. Turner Enterprises2,000,000
  • 4. The Nature Conservancy2,000,000 acres
  • 5. Sierra Pacific Industries1,959,666 acres
  • 6. PotlatchDeltic1,905,000 acres
  • 7. Green Diamond Resource Company1,729,000 acres
  • 8. CatchMark Timber1,577,200 acres
  • 9. J.D. Irving1,246,346 acres
  • 10. CalPERS1,108,000 acres
Large Ranch Owners
  • 11. Singleton Ranches1,100,000 acres
  • 12. PRIM1,030,000 acres
  • 13. BBC Land1,000,000 acres
  • 14. Seven Islands Land Company830,000 acres
  • 15. King Ranch825,000 acres
  • 16. Tall Timber Trust800,000 acres
  • 17. Roseburg Forest Products783,000 acres
  • 18. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints669,665 acres
  • 19. Briscoe Ranch, Inc.640,000 acres
  • 20. Lykes Bros. Inc615,000 acres
Large Citrus Farm Owners
Lykes Bros. Inc. owns four separate citrus groves in three counties in Florida that's become one of the biggest operations in the state.

In case you’re interested, here’s a list of the top 10 land management entities in acres thanks to Forisk Consulting. Many are either forestry consulting and management companies or TIMOs (Timberland Investment Management Organization).

  • American Forest Management - 5,500,000
  • Hancock Timber Resource Group - 3,828,000
  • The Forestland Group - 2,343,000
  • Campbell Global - 2,334,000
  • Resource Management Service - 2,320,000
  • Molpus Woodlands Group - 2,080,000
  • LandVest Timberlands - 2,000,000
  • Forest Investment Associates - 1,980,000
  • F&W Forestry Services - 1,723,000
  • Wagner Forest Management - 1,395,000

As you can clearly see, governments didn’t make our list. The largest landowner is the federal government owning around 679 million acres or 27.9% of the U.S. landmass. State and federal governments together own over 826 million acres or over 34% of the total landmass in the United States. The Catholic Church owns a large amount of property in the U.S. and throughout the world but it’s challenging to nail down all the property they actually own.

In total, these 20 entities account for over 34.7 million acres or 1.4% of U.S. land. If you're in the market for a ranch or timberland, check out our ranches for sale and timberland for sale. These organizations have made good use of the freedom to own property in the United States and many people have become wealthy as a result. They remind us of the value of land ownership and why land was the original American dream.

Frequently asked questions

Who owns the most land in the US?

As of 2022, Red Emmerson is the largest landowner in the U.S. owning 2,330,000 acres of land according to The Land Report 100. He owns timberland in California, Oregon, and Washington.

Who owns the most land in the world?

With over 175 million acres, the Roman Catholic Church owns the most land in the world that can actually be sold. An argument can be made Queen Elizabeth II owns the most land with more than 6.6 billion acres, but that land cannot be sold since it includes countries like Canada.