There's a lot of land in Illinois, but who owns the most acreage in the Land of Lincoln? I was frankly surprised by the answer, but it does make sense when you think about it.

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According to A - Z Animals, the person (or in this case "persons") who own the most land in Illinois are....

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

My initial response was to think of Nauvoo and how many in that church have lived in this area over the years, but that's not the real reason. It's actually investment in farm land. The article states "the Mormon Church owns approximately one million acres in continental America, operating farms, ranches, orchards, and hunting preserves".

Another group that invests in farmland is Farmland Partners which also comes in as a top 5 Illinois land owner with over 12,000 acres.

Guess who else is a top 5 Illinois land owner?

Give yourself a cookie if you said...(*drum roll*)...Bill Gates who owns 17,940 acres.

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I will admit that there's a part of me that's terrified at this thought, but Bill Gates is also the largest farmland owner in America as his family has 242,000 acres. Considering how many times my laptops with Windows installed have blue-screened over the years, I sure hope the same doesn't happen with his crops. Hey, it's a valid point.

Check out the A - Z Animals list for other top Illinois land owners as there are others who obviously have no trouble paying rent these days.

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