Howard Buffett: Farming and finance

Warren Buffett has chosen his son Howard to succeed him as chairman of his multibillion dollar holding company. But Howie, a farmer, is no chip off the old block.

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Warren Buffett was famously reluctant to give his money away to charity.

[Warren with Bill Gates: I'm turning it over to you...]

So it came as a big surprise five years ago when he donated the vast bulk of his fortune - some $31 billion - to the Gates Foundation.

Bill Gates: It's a real challenge to make sure his money gets used in the right way.

Bill Gates is often described as Warren's "third son." They vacation together, spend their birthdays together. So the size of his gift to Gates left an impression that the Buffett children were given short shrift.

Stahl: Warren Buffett doesn't believe in inherited wealth?

Warren: I don't believe in lots of inherited wealth. I haven't been spending my life trying to figure out how to transfer wealth and not have taxes and all of that so there can be a dynasty of all kinds of little Buffetts going around for hundreds of years never having to do anything.

But don't cry for those little Buffetts. Howard, his brother Peter, and sister Susan have gotten multimillion dollar gifts of money and Berkshire Hathaway stock from their parents. So while he's not on the Fortune 500, Howard is by any measure a wealthy man.

On top of the outright gifts, each Buffett child is getting a billion dollars to go towards their philanthropy. But all that pales next to the $31 billion that's going to the Gates Foundation.

Stahl: So did you know, as far back as you can remember, that you were not gonna inherit his money?

Howard: Yeah, yeah.

Stahl: --the bulk of it? You've sort of always known that as you were growing up?

Howard: Yeah Yeah... And from time to time, that was a little frustrating.

Stahl: Because you wanted it or what do you mean?

Howard: Well, I just mean you feel like, that there are a lot of things you could do if you had more money. And I think that way, even in the foundation.

But here's the irony: Bill Gates is spending a huge chunk of Warren Buffett's money on poor farmers in Africa, giving them hybrid seeds and synthetic fertilizers. It's exactly the kind of hi-tech approach Howard tried and now feels is doomed to fail with farmers who make barely a dollar a day.

Howard: They're pushing a system that really is similar to what we have outside this door.

Stahl: But doesn't-- isn't that wonderful?

Howard: No. What I would argue is that at some point those guys are going to go home and the money's gonna not be there. It's exactly the same thing we did, and I don't think it worked.

Stahl: Well, you know Bill Gates. Have you said to him, 'Eighty percent of what you're throwing down there in Africa is not going to work?'

Howard: Well, I said it a little differently, I think. And that is that we need to quit thinking about tryin' to do it like we do it in America.

Bill Gates: Well, Howie's the farmer here. So he can speak with knowledge. I'm the city boy on the panel.

Bill Gates and Howard Buffett were both honored recently at the State Department for their work on combating world hunger; work underwritten in both cases, by the largesse of Warren Buffett.

Stahl: So your father gives all this money to Gates. You come out and tell us what he's doing is all wrong.

Howard: I'm not saying it's all wrong.

Stahl: Well, a lot of it's wrong. Little bit of sibling rivalry there?

Howard: No.

Stahl: Maybe.

Howard: No-- you know, that's why we call him Brother Bill. But-- but-- (chuckle) but--