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Published March 03, 2009, 11:54 AM

Stutsman County land auction may be largest in ND history

JAMESTOWN, N.D. - One auctioneer says it may be the largest land auction in North Dakota history.

By: Associated Press, Associated Press

JAMESTOWN, N.D. - One auctioneer says it may be the largest land auction in North Dakota history.

More than 16,000 acres of Stutsman County land, broken into 39 parcels, is being auctioned off at the Jamestown Civic Center.

The sale will settle the estate of Walter Holzworth, who died in late 2007.

"This is possibly the largest land auction in North Dakota history," said Vince Bitz, the auctioneer for the sale. "If there has been a larger auction, we haven't been able to find any information about it."

Bitz said the sale has drawn heavy interest.

"We've had an awesome amount of interest, including calls from places like Chicago, Oklahoma and Las Vegas," he said. "Still, most of those that have shown an interest in the property already own land in Stutsman County."

Bitz said local buyers, who already know the land, will have an advantage because snow has made it difficult to show the property.

County officials said the area of land for sale will rival the total amount of farm land sold in Stutsman County in 2008.

"Last year there were about 70 sales in the county," said Noel Johnson, the county's chief operating officer and tax director. "They amounted to about 20,000 acres for a total of about $20 million."

The average sale price for farm land in Stutsman County in 2008 was $1,028 per acre, he said.

Johnson said the figures did not include land sales between family members. He estimated that pasture land was selling for about $500 per acre and crop land was selling for a range of $800 per acre to $1,500 per acre.

The auction sale bill says about one-fourth of the total of 16,626 acres is crop land and the rest pasture. The land is in 13 townships in the northwest quarter of the county.

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