This was some QAnon-level nonsense host Rachel Campos-Duffy was spouting on this Sunday's Fox & Friends. While railing about some climate activists that protested outside of White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain's home this weekend urging the administration to declare a "climate emergency," Duffy first accused the protesters of being "Astroturf" and trying to make it appear that there's more support for climate change legislation than there actually is before spouting this about Bill Gates.
CAMPOS-DUFFY: Lawrence brought up the prices obviously, you know, when you raise the cost of fuel it raises the cost of food and everything else. I'm concerned that it is more... that we're going to see consequences that are even beyond that, that affect our food supply, because when you enact this climate emergency, this now puts regulations on small farmers and they can't handle all of these regulations.
And what ends up happening is, it put as financial strain on them. Suddenly the big conglomerates and businesses, or even these predator oligarchs like Bill Gates come in, and they go, oh, we'll just buy up that land because you can't be profitable as a farmer anymore.
And now all of the sudden they can control the food supply, and if you control the food supply in a country you control the population. And you just have to look over to the Netherlands to know this isn't some conspiracy.
This is something we really need to think about, especially as the food supply is already constrained, Pete, what we see happening with fertilizer, with Russia and grains, and so many issues with supply chain because of the war in Ukraine.
Snopes has debunked the lie that has been spread by others as well that Bill Gates now owns the majority of U.S. farmland. He doesn't. According to reporting by the DailyDot, he owns less than .03% of all the farmland in the U.S. and here's how he responded when he was asked about the land he's bought last year:
“The agriculture sector is important,” Gates wrote. “With more productive seeds we can avoid deforestation and help Africa deal with the climate difficulty they already face. It is unclear how cheap biofuels can be but if they are cheap it can solve the aviation and truck emissions.”
Gates has been a major proponent of biofuel technology, seeing it as one of the keys to a greener and more sustainable future. So buying land to test growing crops to power biofuels tracks with his overall priorities to both reduce the effect of gasoline emissions and get in early on a potentially lucrative technology.
Other reports have Gates’ land growing a number of staple crops beyond those intended for biofuel, such as potatoes, onions, and corn—all some of the most commonly grown food in the U.S. He’s also apparently taking in income by renting at least some of the land out to tenant farmers for growing food—an arrangement that encompasses almost 40% of the available farmland in the country, according to the USDA.
Ultimately, Gates’ land purchases represent a solid way to grow his private holdings, as multiple investment experts told Yahoo in 2021. Farmland returns a higher profit than the S&P 500, and there’s currently a huge opportunity to get it cheaply: as much as 370 million acres might come up for sale in the next two decades, with older farmers wanting to get out of the business and their children not interested in staying in the business.
Food will always be a basic need, and taking away the sinister connotations that always seem to follow Gates around, the purchases can be looked at simply as a good investment being bought when it’s less expensive. And Cascade isn’t the only private firm to buy up farmland. It’s just the only one connected to Gates.
Ultimately, for Gates to be seen as “controlling America’s food supply,” he’d have to buy millions of acres and hope nobody else realizes what he’s doing or does anything to stop him.
That won't stop the likes of Duffy and others from spouting irresponsible conspiracy theories as she did this morning if it means they can help Republican push their political agenda.