Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been making waves recently regarding his expansive property on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.
Zuckerberg has been constructing a 1,400-acre compound — featuring a 5,000-square-foot underground shelter, “blast-resistant door” and “escape hatch” — across his property, known as Ko’olau Ranch, according to an investigation by Wired. The compound will be equipped with “its own energy and food supplies.”
This is not your usual bug out spot. The cost of the project, including land purchases and extensive development, exceeds $270 million, according to Wired.
But Zuckerberg’s activities on Ko’olau Ranch extend far beyond mere refuge. In a recent Instagram post, the billionaire divulged his newest venture: cattle farming.
“Started raising cattle at Ko’olau Ranch on Kauai, and my goal is to create some of the highest-quality beef in the world,” Zuckerberg announced. “The cattle are wagyu and angus, and they’ll grow up eating macadamia meal and drinking beer that we grow and produce here on the ranch.”
Zuckerberg is determined to keep the entire process “local and vertically integrated.” His family has been assisting with the operations.
“Each cow eats 5,000-10,000 pounds of food each year, so that’s a lot of acres of macadamia trees. My daughters help plant the mac trees and take care of our different animals,” he shared.
“Of all my projects, this is the most delicious.”
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While some people might wonder why a tech magnate wants to be a cattle rancher, Zuckerberg’s foray into agriculture may be considered timely given the current state of America’s beef industry.
As the U.S. cattle herd has shrunk to its lowest level in decades, the country is importing record amounts of beef while exporting less, according to Reuters.
This significant decline in cattle, driven by years of severe drought damaging grazing lands, has resulted in higher beef prices domestically.
Consumers are feeling the impact. The latest Consumer Price Index report shows that the price of beef and veal in the U.S. was up 8.7% in December 2023 from a year ago.
Reuters reported that the U.S. beef cow herd in January 2023 was the smallest since 1962.
‘The most important agricultural industry’
Raising cattle is a crucial business. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, cattle production is “the most important agricultural industry in the United States, consistently accounting for the largest share of total cash receipts for agricultural commodities.”
Zuckerberg is not the only tech billionaire with agricultural pursuits. For instance, Microsoft founder Bill Gates happens to be the largest private owner of farmland in America, having amassed nearly 270,000 acres across the country.
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