I need to respond to the recent articles in The Forum reporting on the landowners in Clay county that have not signed the "right of entry" agreements that were received in October. I manage C-W Valley Co-op located at Comstock and Wolverton, Minn. We are one of the 17 property owners that have not signed the "right of entry" agreement at this time. The articles made it sound like we have not signed because we are in opposition of the F-M Diversion. In one aspect that statement is true. We are not in favor of the current plan, but that is not the reason we have not signed. We have not signed because we have not been informed as to the impacts to our properties. We have been in contact with members of the Diversion Authority several times concerning impacts on our property and the negative impacts on our business as well. In August, we met with Diversion Authority representatives concerning the parcel that the "right of entry" is requested for as it is very important to our operation. The loss of any of this property will severely hamper our current layout and operation. This site has our agronomy center, bulk fuel facility and retail fuel pumps located on it. At that meeting we were assured there would be no impact on that property.
In October, we received the request to authorize the "right of entry" to this same property. Following the request, in a phone conversation with a representative, I asked why an environmental study was needed and was told it was for acquisition. This relates to the “confusion” that The Forum article mentioned since we were assured our property was not required for the diversion. I dispute the comment by Diversion Authority lawyer, Chris McShane, that the landowners had been visited concerning this matter and that we received the letter months ago. Our request came in October and we had not had a visit by Diversion staff at the time of the Clay County Commissioners meeting Nov. 26th.
- Letter: Landowners are right to avoid signing right of entry
- Clay County board OKs diversion 'right of entry' court cases to proceed
The F-M Diversion plan has a lot of negative impacts to farmers, landowners and businesses and it seems all are expected to accept the sacrifices they are told to endure. Personally, I oppose the current plan for these impacts, not only to the business I manage but also to our patrons and others. I have been blessed to manage here for over 32 years, in many cases I have worked with three generations of farmers. They aren’t just patrons but friends and for some of these, the sacrifice they are told to bear has taken a toll on them that is difficult to watch. Our business stands to have substantial losses due to lost grain handle and sales of crop inputs and we are already experiencing this with the land taken out of production for the construction of the levee and dams. Our most severe impacts could happen after construction of the dams and the water is held back. The operation of the dams could cause a large loss of crop production and input sales that would severely impact our company that has existed for ninety years.
The people opposing to the current plan seem to be looked down upon by supporters of the FM Diversion including the Forum. Many of these people have been told to make substantial sacrifices for the gain of others and they have a very real right to oppose it. I don’t believe any of the opposition is against flood protection for Fargo but are against the current plan of protecting a natural flood plain for growth south of Fargo.