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Judge refused to block NCSU sale of research forest

Posted November 12, 2013

The 79,000-acre Hofmann Forest in Jones and Onslow counties is the largest university-owned teaching and research forest in the world.
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— A judge on Tuesday rejected an attempt by North Carolina State University professors, foresters and environmentalists to halt the pending sale of Hofmann Forest.

A university endowment said last month that it plans to sell the 79,000-acre forest in Jones and Onslow counties to an Illinois-based agribusiness company for $150 million.

Hofmann Forest has been owned and managed for the benefit of N.C. State’s College of Natural Resources for nearly 80 years. Officials said it is the largest university-owned teaching and research forest in the world.

University officials said they expect the proceeds of the sale to generate $6 million a year in revenue for the college, which they said is more than triple the current annual yield from owning the property.

Opponents filed a lawsuit in September to block the sale, alleging that it would violate the state constitution's mandate of conserving public lands for public benefit. The plaintiffs also maintain that the foundation's board failed to follow state environmental regulations requiring input from public agencies or citizens on the proposal or to consider any alternatives to selling the forest.

N.C. State officials argue that the sale didn't need to meet those rules because the land was owned by a private foundation and it wasn't state property.

A judge denied the plaintiff's request for e preliminary injunction in the case.

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  • rushbot Nov 15, 2013

    another scandal from the gop buried away....

  • Danny22 Nov 14, 2013

    This is a free country. You should be able to sell your property whenever you want to.

  • miseem Nov 13, 2013

    Hey, it's just following the trend in NC for the last few years. Anything to do with NC government or NC assets and citizens rights have been for sale for years. Politicians, property rights (see fracking), local control of services (see NCGA laws on Durham, Charlotte and Asheville) have all gone to the highest bidder. Enough money has gone into electing our current reps on Jones Street I'm surprised they haven't changed the NC legislative building to the Koch Brothers Arena, considering the the money they and associated groups have put into electing the current occupants and the circus that has had control of it for the last 4 years. May as well change the name of the Executive residence to the Art Pope Annex and ALEC Conference Center.

  • scubagirl2 Nov 13, 2013

    Hey joshuawlamb.....just WHAT part of this says NCSU grad????

    "A university endowment said last month that it plans to sell the 79,000-acre forest in Jones and Onslow counties to an Illinois-based agribusiness company for $150 million......The buyer is a family-owned, multistate firm headed by a third-generation farmer named Jerry Walker, NCSU officials said.

    According to the contract, the company intends to sell the U.S. Department of Defense easements that will allow aviation training over about 70,000 acres of the property. That land could be used for timber or farming but not development for, say, houses."

  • scubagirl2 Nov 13, 2013

    "I guess the judge didn't want to be identified. dsdaughtry"

    yep, and neither does the 'agri-business'. I agree I'll bet it's Monsanto and all their GMO carp .......

  • scubagirl2 Nov 13, 2013

    SHAME on them!!! This is such a BAD thing to do. and to an 'AGRI-BUSINESS' .......oh suuuuurrrreee they'll keep the trees.

    I had really hoped a judge would stop this sale, but greed wins everytime sadly.

  • joshuawlamb Nov 13, 2013

    Pretty sure the previous article said the buyer is an NC State Grad. Also pretty sure the University will still be allowed to use the forest for research purposes. All this hubub about nothing. Go find something else to complain about.

  • LovemyPirates Nov 13, 2013

    Although antiquated in other ways, this is why tenure is important. Only a tenured faculty member would have the safety to speak out against a decision made by the Dean or Dept. Chair. Because of tenure, they are safe from retaliation.

  • Maxxx Nov 13, 2013

    Shame on NCSU for selling this forest!!! It really hurts my heart that they would be willing to do such a thing for $. Think of the students that travel there every semester to learn. What about the professors?? I'm sure they are losing their minds!

  • LetsBeFair Nov 13, 2013

    The way this is in the news it seems there is some undertow no one is talking about.

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