The Mormon church has sparked some backlash from local farmers after snapping up about 370,000 acres of prime ranch land in Nebraska.
The Utah-based religious organization now owns at least $2 billion worth of agricultural terrain across the country. It now owns an estimated $134 million worth of agricultural land in Nebraska and is on track to surpass CNN founder Ted Turner as the single largest landowner in the country.
Nebraska Farmers Union President John Hansen told news outlets that the land grab was artificially driving up land prices and forcing out local farmers. “It’s not fair competition when folks bring in that much outside money and bid against local farmers and ranchers,” Hansen says. “They’ll become the number one landowner in the state if they continue this buying spree at the current rate.” The church is likely the largest landowner in Florida after buying almost 383,000 acres of timberland.