When it comes to billionaires in the news, it feels like the first half of 2021 was all about Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson’s race to blast themselves into space.
But back down here on Earth, in the world of food and ag, it was Bill Gates who hogged the headlines.
In January, the Microsoft mogul and his (soon to be ex) wife Melinda French Gates were revealed to be the owners of the largest private portfolio of farmland in the US, with 242,000 acres across the country.
AFN‘s coverage of that news was our second-most read article of H1 2021 – beaten only by our follow-up report detailing Gates’ own comments on why he has amassed so much farmland. He told Redditors that the farm acquisitions had nothing to do with his and his wife’s environmental work, or his myriad investments in agritech and foodtech; rather, his “investment group chose to do this [and] it is not connected to climate.”
Nevertheless, with so much ag real estate on their hands, Bill and Melinda could create the world’s leading agrifoodtech testbed – but only if they get the farming industry on side first, I argued in an opinion piece that was also among our top 20 stories of the half-year. Meanwhile, Gates’s assertion that wealthier countries should drop livestock-based protein production altogether in favor of “synthetic meat” also garnered plenty of page views from the AFN faithful.
Other popular topics in H1 2021 included the continued growth of the plant-based meat replacement industry, as well as the automation and electrification of farm machinery.
Here are the top 20 most-read stories by unique page views on AFN from H1 2021:
AFN was visited by 689,806 readers in H1 2021, up 24% from 462,718 in H2 2020.
The top 10 countries over the six-month period, in descending order by number of readers, were the US, India, the UK, Canada, Australia, Singapore, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and China.
It’s worth noting that China was our fastest-growing audience segment for the half-year, with new user numbers in the country up 115% on H2 2020.
AFN‘s top 10 identifiable cities by readers were, in descending order, Singapore (Singapore), New York (US), London (UK), Paris (France), Los Angeles (US), Chicago (US), Sydney (Australia), and San Francisco (US).
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