Who We Represent Farmers and Rancher
Farmers and ranchers are often victims of eminent domain, the right of the government to take someone else’s property for public use. This right is given in the Fifth Amendment, but many times it is violated by lack of compensation or other issues.
The right to seize or condemn land for public use comes at the federal, state and local government levels and is also given to other businesses such as utility and gas companies. The power to claim eminent domain may be used to build highways, bridges, expand electrical lines or pipelines, or even develop parks and schools.
The Rights of Farmers and Ranchers
The government has broad power to condemn property in eminent domain. However, they must follow the law regarding notification to the property owners and fair compensation. In this situation, the property that has been condemned is supposed to be valued at what is considered the highest use, which may be different from current use.
Farmland may have a higher value than other property, especially if could be used for another purpose. The property owner deserves the right to be compensated for this higher value in return for the loss of property. In addition, they may also have the concern of damage to other property, which they retain.
Irrigation, fencing and natural barriers may also be impacted by eminent domain as well as access to the remaining property or navigation around the property. All of these issues must be taken into account when determining what would be considered fair compensation for the property.
In many cases, only part of a property is claimed for eminent domain. In other situations, no transfer of ownership may occur. Instead, regulations may change, restricting the use of the property. In this case, it is said that a regulatory taking occurred. The resulting loss for the property owner may not be as obvious, and compensation may be inadequate.
Farmers and ranchers are often not aware of the value of their property and fail to know what would be considered adequate compensation. An experienced eminent domain attorney can help them move through the process while protecting their rights for the value of the property.
There is often a broad interpretation of the law when it comes to eminent domain in favor of the condemning authority. The landowners need proper representation to ensure the Fifth Amendment is upheld and their rights not violated.