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“What they offered us doesn’t even come close to rebuilding somewhere,” she said.
If the Minars now decide to sell the land, which has an estimated price tag of $1.4 million, the utilities can then resell it to whoever is interested in buying — as with any farm purchased under the law. “That’s really up to the market to decide,” Maccabee said.
Though the court’s decision is a David-and-Goliath win for small farmers, the outcome it offers is bittersweet.
“ ‘Buy the farm’ will continue to be a last resort,” Maccabee said. “But this decision is very important because it vindicates the ability of family farmers to use the protections that the Legislature put into the law.”
Thom Petersen, director of government relations for the Minnesota Farmers Union, said the decision is good news for other small farmers currently dealing with utilities building on their land. Relocating a farm — especially with livestock — is tough, he said, but “this at least makes it a little more palatable.”
The Minars said their plan had always been to hand the farm down to their children. “It’s very sad, but there’s always change,” Florence Minar said. “The world is constantly changing, so we have to adjust to that.”
Emma Nelson • 612-673-4509