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Continued: Utility must buy the farm its towers stand on, judge rules

  • Article by: EMMA NELSON , Star Tribune
  • Last update: August 16, 2014 - 6:36 AM

“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

 

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  • Dave and Florence Minar stand near one of the power poles on their property in New Prague.

  • Dave Minar at work on his New Prague farm in April 2014.

  • One year after he thought he triumphed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the Minnesota Legislature, Dave and Florence Minar, owners of one of the state's top organic farms, finds themselves in court next week, fighting still to exert their rights over the powerline company that has run its massive lines across their land. Here, Power Lines run along side the road near Cedar Summit Farm. ] BRIAN PETERSON • brian.peterson@startribune.com New Prague, MN 4/17/2014

  • Power lines run alongside the road near Cedar Summit Farm.

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