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Continued: New Prague farmers to face off with power line builders in court

  • Article by: DAVID PETERSON , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 20, 2014 - 10:44 PM

Widespread interest

The case is drawing huge interest statewide, said Thom Petersen, lobbyist for the Minnesota Farmers Union.

In a period when all manner of new pipelines and power lines are snaking across Minnesota, “this is a very high-priority issue for us,” he said. “I would love to be able to sit in on it myself. A lot of farmers are watching this case and it will have a big impact on others.”

The Minars’ case also raises issues way beyond those of some farms. It’s close enough to growing New Prague to be lucrative someday for subdivisions.

And it poses a real conundrum in being organic. An organic farmer can’t just vacate and set up anywhere else; it takes years to purify the land to make it qualify as organic.

The Minars’ saga follows by just a few years a parallel narrative at the celebrated Gardens of Eagan, in next-door Dakota County.

Atina Diffley has since written a book published by the University of Minnesota Press detailing the battle to fight off an oil pipeline that threatened the purity of that organic land.

Faced with the mounting pressures capped off by the looming power lines, the owners of Cedar Summit Farm, reluctantly, want out.

“It’s a desecration,” Florence Minar said.

 

David Peterson • 952-746-3285



 

  • related content

  • Dave and Florence Minar are citing the “Buy the Farm” law in court, where utilities building power lines are required to buy a family farm if its viability is threatened.

  • Dave Minar, owner of Cedar Summit Farm, believes if a corporation makes a dramatic change to one’s land, it’s up to them to buy it.

  • Builders of the power line say they don’t need to buy the Minars’ farm because it doesn’t qualify for the “Buy the Farm” law. They are building only one transmission structure that will occupy less than 1 acre on the 132-acre property, and also that the farm is “commercial land,” the builders said in a statement.

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