UA land sale questioned by critics

A central question raised by critics of the planned sale of a portion of a state agriculture research station is: Can the land even legally be sold?

The University of Arkansas System board of trustees on March 11 approved the sale of 6,300 acres — or nearly half — of its Agriculture Division’s Pine Tree Research Station just west of Colt (St. Francis County). The sale price, according to the agenda item for the board that day, was for at least $16.5 million, to Lobo Farms LLC in Fisher (Poinsett County).

The Agriculture Division has held the land since 1960, having bought it from the U.S. Forest Service. It developed the 11,300 acres into the Pine Tree station.

The deed, however, states:

“Subject further to the condition that the above-described land shall be used for public purposes, and if at any time said land ceases to be so used, the

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