Ree Drummond, aka the Pioneer Woman, started a blog about going "from city girl to domestic country wife" in 2006, and people loved it. In the past decade she's turned her "cowboy-friendly" cooking and super-relatable persona into a multi-million-dollar empire. She has multiple best-selling cookbooks, a print magazine that sold out its first issue, home furnishing and cooking accessory lines, and she's one of the most popular stars on the Food Network. She even has her own line of jeans. And it turns out that, on top of all this, she's also one of the biggest landowners in the United States.
Everyone knew the Pioneer Woman was pretty well off. In addition to her media empire, she's part of a family of very successful Oklahoma cattle ranchers. Still, it surprised a lot of people when the Land Report issued its annual list of America's 100 largest landowners, and the Pioneer Woman was on it.
According to Grub Street, Drummond's family owns 433,000 acres in Oklahoma. That's bigger than all of Oklahoma City, and more than half the size of Rhode Island. That makes them the 23rd largest landowners in the U.S., with more land holdings than number 25, Jeff Bezos, but less than America's number two landowner, Ted Turner.
Drummond's family has been ranching in Oklahoma for four generations. In addition to the money from their cattle and horse businesses, a main source of income is the U.S. government. According to the Daily Mail, land records show the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has paid them $23.9 million since December 2006 to "support animal protection" by allowing wild horses and burros to roam their land. A herd of wild horses sure makes for an idyllic view from the kitchen window, doesn't it?
It's comforting to know even one of the country's biggest landowners is still as obsessed with easy slow cooker recipes as the rest of us, though.