Your Land or Theirs?

Teresa Olson
By Teresa Olson May 1, 2018 16:27 Updated

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For nearly 150 years the federal government has exercised its right to claim the land of private citizens, and traditionally eminent domain has been utilized to facilitate transportation, supply water, construct public buildings and aid in defense readiness – all for the good of our country.  During WWII for example, the Lands Division oversaw the acquisition of more than 20 million acres of land that was then reshaped into airports, naval stations, war materials manufacturing and storage, testing grounds, and numerous other national defense installations.    In contrast, the 1970s and 1980s was a time when land was acquired for the establishment of Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida and the enlargement of the Redwood National Forest in California, as well as the expansion of Everglades National Park in Florida and the creation of Valles Caldera National Preserve in New Mexico.  After the terrorist attacks  on September 11, 2001, land was secured in New York for federal agencies whose offices were lost with the World Trade Towers.

 

As a reminder, the federal government can’t take your land from you without fair compensation, so it would be wise to protect your interests in case an eminent domain situation arose.  Kelly Keady (attorney with Biersdorf & Associates in MN) offers three tips:

 

  1. Be skeptical.  Expect that a buyer will enter into negotiation looking for the best (not top dollar) price possible.
  2. Consult an attorney.  Biersdorf and Associates will look over an offer for free and then tell you if you have a case or not.
  3. Pick the right appraiser.  In order to get the maximum amount of fair compensation, you want a high before value and a low after value.

 

As I read and thought about this governmental right, I couldn’t help but think about the subjectivity that comes into play.  After all, it’s a group of human beings holding public positions that decide what’s best for this country, and I believe their decisions can be affected by personal interests, ignorance and self-serving goals.  As different people are voted into office, different ideas on what is good for this nation also emerge.

 

2012 statistics report that there is almost 2 billion acres of farmland in the U.S., and so the chances that a farmer might be affected by eminent domain could be pretty high.   The most recent case would be the Dakota Access Pipeline, which carries oil almost 1,200 miles from North Dakota to refineries in Illinois.  One Iowa farmer, Keith Brink, had two high-yielding fields of corn.  Now he has a poor-producing strip running through one of them that he’s not sure will return to normal.

 

I’m not sure if there’s a clear answer here…

 

-Terry Olson, Titan Outlet Store Team

References:

https://www.agriculture.com/farm-management/farm-land/farmers-rights-vs-eminent-domain?utm_source=ag-newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=todaysnews_042118&did=240262

https://www.justice.gov/enrd/history-federal-use-eminent-domain

http://www.farmlandinfo.org/statistics

 

Teresa Olson
By Teresa Olson May 1, 2018 16:27 Updated
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