Thursday, February 07, 2008

Ted Turner says he is nearing goal of owning 2 million acres of American ranchland

Ted Turner made a name for himself as the founder of CNN and owner of Atlanta sports franchises. Those roles are in the past, and much of his focus is now on his bison ranches in Nebraska, reports Paul Hammel of the Omaha World-Herald. (OWH photo by Laura Inns)

Turner, "the largest private landowner in Nebraska and the United States and the nation's largest bison rancher, said Wednesday that he is about done buying new ranches," Hammel writes. "He said he would like to reach 2 million acres nationwide before he dies — about 40,000 acres more than he currently owns."

Turner was in Omaha for the renaming of one of his 54 bison restaurants to Ted's Nebraska Grill (the rest are known as Ted's Montana Grill) and sat down for a half-hour interview that covered "his political preferences, the profitability of bison, his shrinking fortune and conspiracy theories that he is buying Nebraska land to corral the best chunks of the Ogallala Aquifer," the vast reservoir of water under the Great Plains, Hammel writes.

Turner told Hammel he has never sold water rights and has no plans to do so. Neighboring land owners said they get along with Turner, but they worry his land "eventually will become a buffalo park, taking it off the tax rolls and shifting more of the tax burden to them," Hammel writes. (Read more)

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