ST. PAUL, Minn. – During a debate on the Senate floor, Senator Kevin Dahle (DFL – Northfield) proposed and passed an amendment to add his “Buy the Farm” language to HF 854, to better protect the rights of local farmers and landowners.
“While serving in the Senate previously, I fought to make sure that all entities had to play by the rules when they invoked eminent domain procedures,” said Senator Dahle. “We must ensure the laws are clear and tight, and that they are followed.”
Minnesota’s “Buy the Farm” law requires utility companies to buy land from farmers to clear the way for high-voltage transmission projects. The current law allows an owner to require utility companies to condemn and purchase land that is contiguous to the parcels needed to complete a public improvement, up to and including the entire property.
“Corporations that skirt the law not only inconvenience us, but they can possibly put us in danger. This bill strengthens the legislation I passed in 2009. The changes we’ve authored will further protect the rights of local farmers by closing loopholes and holding big companies accountable to the law.”
Senator Dahle’s amendment requires companies to reimburse land owners for fees incurred in the process of acquiring the land and any loss of ongoing business. Additionally, utilities must file challenges to a claim within 60 days. If an objection is filed, the district court must hold a hearing to determine whether to uphold or reject it within 90 days of the objection.
“The current law creates confusion, and we want bring clarity for both land owners and utility companies. It is important everybody understand what the law means so there can be a fair resolution. In a time of DC gridlock, Minnesota can be proud that the Senate has passed this bipartisan reform to protect our local communities.”