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Strickland Farm auction nets $1.9 million for A-State


JONESBORO – A bequest to Arkansas State University has resulted in a $1.9 million gift that will help college-bound students for years to come.

A-State alumni Russell and Melda Strickland of Black Oak, Ark., bequeathed 233 acres of their farm to the Arkansas State University Real Estate Foundation to support scholarship opportunities for students from the Buffalo Island Central School District in Monette, Ark.

Mr. Strickland died in 2012; Mrs. Strickland died just over a year ago. Their bequest allowed for the sale of the farm to fund the scholarship endowment.

“The Stricklands were a visible presence on the Arkansas State campus for years,” said Erika Krennerich Chudy, director of planned giving. “Their love for A-State will impact the lives of the students the endowment will help and, in turn, those people the students will influence as college graduates.”

The auction drew 27 registered bidders from Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee and Missouri, according to Joel King, principal broker for United Country–Dynasty Auction and Realty, who marketed and conducted the auction.

“The high number of bidders shows the scarcity of land like this in the Black Oak area,” King noted. “According to the appraisers and financial institutions, the final bid price set a record for row-crop land in Northeast Arkansas, and perhaps in the entire Natural State.”

King said the land was offered in three separate tracts. The first round of the live auction rose to a final bid of $7,600 per acre. Round two brought a lot of competitive bidding between two attendees and came to an end at $9,000 per acre.

“Auctions allow buyers to determine a property’s fair market value through the bidding process, making it an effective way to buy and sell property in today’s market,” King explained. “The December 9 auction gave buyers the opportunity to purchase prime land tracts at the price of their choosing. Our accelerated marketing efforts exceeded the sellers’ expectation, which is our ultimate goal.”

“Russell and Melda were kind folks, always caring for others and seeing beyond themselves,” said Mike Brown, executor of the Strickland’s estate. “This $1.9 million endowment will provide an education to a countless number of students. What a great legacy to leave.”