Scully once owned 55,666 acres in the county

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BY JULIE ANDERSON
Scully Estates began in the 1870s when William Scully of Ireland began purchasing land in the United States for $5 to $15 per acre.



Doug Sharp, Scully agent and president of Midlands Farm Service, said Scully wanted to establish a hold and there was only a small land base in Ireland.



?What William Scully accomplished putting all this land together was extremely impressive,? Sharp said.



Over his lifetime, Scully amassed a quarter million acres of land in the United States located in Kansas, Illinois, Nebraska and Louisiana. His largest holdings were in Marion County, where he owned 55,666 acres.



The land has since been passed down to his heirs.



As an agent, Sharp acts almost as an owner. He is responsible for conservation issues, writes and issues leases, oversees mineral leases and plants, harvests and sells crops.



?I think a lot of guys we have as tenants say because we always rent land at reasonable rates?most is cash rented?it has allowed our tenants to profit,? Sharp said.



Sharp said the Scully leasing system is different from most others. Tenants own the buildings and improvements on the land. When one tenant retires, they can sell their assets to the new tenant.



?That?s an old leasing system that was brought here from Ireland. It had more merit 100 years ago than it does today, because 100 years ago one man could make a living on a quarter section of land,? Sharp said. ?That is no longer true.?



When immigrants were arriving a century ago, a quarter section was a standard size and they also wanted to live on the farm.



According to Sharp, most landowners own the buildings or fences on the land.



Conservation also has been an important consideration for Scully land.



?Scully has always been a pioneer in conservation,? Sharp said. ?He understand soil conservation issues and implemented soil conservation structures in the first wave of interest.?



Sharp said Marion County has had an agent acting on behalf of Scully since the land was purchased.



?I like to think 100 years later, we?re still here and we?re still good land stewards,? he said.

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