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Lets get a copy of the story here for others to read quickly and easily

chron.com said:
Vermont dairy farmer fighting federal land grab
By JOHN CURRAN

FRANKLIN, Vt. - This is one sleepy border crossing.

At the Morses Line Port of Entry, on the U.S.-Canada border, the border station is located smack-dab in the middle of a Vermont dairy farm.

On average, 2 1/2 cars pass through an hour. The pace is so slow that U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents who man it have been known to fill out their days by driving golf balls in an adjoining meadow, shooting skeet or washing their cars.

Some here think the World War II-era brick structure that houses the border station should be abandoned entirely.

Not the U.S. Department of Homeland Security: The government, which got $420 million from the federal bailout to modernize land ports like this, wants to spend about $7 million to build an expanded station. To do it, the government says, it needs an adjoining 4.9-acre parcel now used to grow hay and corn.

Owners of the Rainville dairy farm were told last week that if they won't sell the hayfield for $39,500, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will use eminent domain to seize it.

"The arrogance of it is breathtaking," said Brian Rainville, 37, whose parents and two brothers run the 220-acre farm and milk 80 cows on it. "Why are we being asked to make that kind of sacrifice when they can't demonstrate a public need?"

The public need is national security, according to Customs and Border Protection.

The building, which went up in 1936 after the government seized about a half-acre of land from the farm's then-owner, is outdated by any standards. Its detention area is a bench with a set of handcuffs attached to one end, just inside the glass front door.

Trucks passing through have to be inspected as they sit on Morses Line Road, because the porte-cochere that hangs over the one inspection lane isn't big enough to accommodate them.

Originally, a $15 million expansion was planned, using 10 acres of the Rainville farm. That plan has since been scaled back. It calls for a two-story building on 1.5 acres, with the rest of the parcel devoted to parking, vehicle turnaround space, a stormwater pond, water well, septic and security fencing.

"Our airports, seaports, and land ports of entry are all part of an interconnected security network to facilitate entry and exit to and from our country," the agency said in a statement Tuesday. "When we fail to fortify one, we weaken the entire system, putting our national security at risk."

If the Morses Line Port of Entry can't be expanded, it may have to close, the CBP statement said.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano vowed this week to hold a public hearing on the project.

Pressed in a committee meeting by U.S. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, she said the government had tried to make the expansion as small as possible, but that it couldn't get any smaller and still work.

"This is one of those things where we are trying to work with the owners to get down to the footprint. I believe it's actually been reduced down from 5 acres to 1.5 acres in terms of what CBP has determined it needs to actually do the kind of port improvement there - there's a certain minimum amount, unless you do it, you might as well not do it at all."

Leahy, who has taken up the Rainvilles' cause, believes it's not necessary at all.

"If it's not necessary, let's spend that money to improve other stations where there's heavy traffic and there are delays," said Leahy, D-Vt.

In an interview, CBP spokesman Rafael Lemaitre wouldn't address the Rainvilles' complaints.

"CBP takes the concerns of our partners, including those in Congress and the local community, very seriously and has been in frequent contact with all stakeholders involved with the Morses Line Port of Entry over the past year," he said in the statement. "CBP looks forward to discussing any outstanding issues as we work to find a solution that balances security with the needs of the local community."

That's not the tenor of the letter received April 19 by the Rainvilles' attorney, Richard Gadbois.

"... CBP, in coordination with USACE, is writing to inform you that it will be necessary to move forward with condemnation to acquire the necessary property interests," said the letter from Noreen Dresser, chief of the Corps' real estate division. "We anticipate filing a condemnation action within the next 60 days through the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont."

For the Rainvilles - parents Betty and Clement, 70, and sons Tony, 39, Brian, 37, and Craig, 33 - it is survival that's at stake.

They say the land seizure could put the farm out of business. Buffeted by low prices for milk, the 220-acre farm lost money in 2009. Losing that much hay production - about 1,000 bales a year - would force them to buy hay to feed their milking cows instead of growing it themselves.

With hay at $3.25 per bale, the sale price wouldn't go far, says Craig Rainville, who says the government's negotiators see a city block when they look at the land, not a vital cog of a working farm.

"There's a culture gap here as wide as the Grand Canyon," he said Tuesday, sitting in the living room of the farmhouse. "They act like the farm is a movie set, where you take part of it out and the rest is supposed to function. It doesn't work that way."

"Save This Farm" reads the hand-painted 4-by-8-foot wooden sign that Brian Rainville recently erected on the land.

"It's what we do, it's who we are," he said. "We're hanging on by our fingernails. The last thing we need is for the government to break us."
 

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At the Morses Line Port of Entry, on the U.S.-Canada border, the border station is located smack-dab in the middle of a Vermont dairy farm.
I have a question for those in that general area ... does the farm reside on both sides of the Canadian / American border, and, if so, does the farmer (and their associates) require a stamp on their passport everytime that they cross to the north-side and back again to the south-side of the border as they drive their farm machinery to take care of their farm, land and animals?

Will the farmer need to pay taxes to the Canadian government with regards to the amount of money made on the northern side of the border?
 

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See, Eminent Domain is a tricky subject. The government has the right to take anything they want through eminent domain, but thanks to the 5th amendment they must give you compensation for it.

So either he sells the land or they send him a check and take it.

You need to understand that Eminent Domain allows the government to take any land for government or public use, supplies needed during wartime, contract rights, patents, copyrights, etc. They can even take sports teams if they want to. They could take your house to board troops if they wanted.

It is all legal as long as they pay you for it. It's in the constitution. You can't only defend the parts you want like the freedom of speech or the right to bear arms. It's a package deal.
 

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It is all legal as long as they pay you for it. It's in the constitution. You can't only defend the parts you want like the freedom of speech or the right to bear arms. It's a package deal.
Now - who is to determine what is a reasonable payment for the rights? Can the current owner determine the value? Can the current owner of the land "rent" the portion out to the government at a rate that will allow the farm to continue, or, can the government "trade" land-for-land and give them the means to continue their business with little impact on their business?

Here in Alberta, the government can "take land" but the compensation does not always need to be in cash-funds. If the government takes away the ability to earn money, the government pays out that amount yearly to the owners - kind of like a rental agreement.

If the owners decide to sell out, the next owner is not allowed to claim that "missing section" of land, it reverts directly to the government at that time.
 

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Here in the US, the value is usually valued per square foot for vacant land. This includes fields. Structures are appraised differently.

They are currently offering just shy of $40,000 for less than 5 acres. To me, that is a hell of a deal. Here in Idaho, you could get between 5-20 acres for that price depending on the location.
 

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I believe they go by "fair market value" at the time of the sale/seizure/whatever you want to call it, but I'm not sure I'm right and am not going to sit here on my dialup connection all morning to look it up. Anyway, as someone who has lived on a farm all my life I can't believe that 5 acres would make or break a 220 acre operation. We milked cows from 1928 to 2000 and had to quit because we were a small farm and the last one around making milk and no milk haulers would come pick up our milk. My dad and I now both work for the same environmental remediation company and still do farming on the side. It's tough to get everything done but we have evolved (survived?) the change thrust upon us and excelled. Now we have a steady paycheck, good benefits, and we don't have to work on Christmas. There are things that don't get done on the farm now, and I wish to God we could still be milking, I really do, but we can't and that's pretty much all there is to it. Do you grovel and sob, or do you stand up and shine? Milk prices are volatile-it's sold per hundredweight (100 lbs, usually abbreviated cwt) and it weighs 8.6 pounds per gallon. At anywhere from $12 to $20 per hundredweight it's almost impossible to plan for the future. We always ran old junk equipment because Dad was (rightly) afraid to go into debt on machinery because he might not make next month's payment. Now we have a bright green tractor with an air conditioned, heated cab that he was able to save up and pay cash for.

Point is-the way farmers are treated is a crime. That said, it is what it is, so either make do or move on. I can say that because I did it. My son will still grow up on a farm. Not milking cows, but he'll learn the same values. Sometimes we all have to evolve, not just farmers. Many businesses are feeling the pinch.

Just my 2 cents...
 

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Good to hear!

Let the farmers do what they need to do, and the border-guys can make do with what they have available.
 

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Good to hear the little guy get one every now and then. The amount of money was for land not for the lifetime of hay and grazing that the land would have provided. I,am glad for them and that they stuck to the guns on this one. Good for them. :2thumb:
 

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Its about time the Gov. backed down. :2thumb: I hate to say it, but the goverment has to know the bad guys don't use the boarder crossing to come in to the US. Hello!:rolleyes: They need more eyes between the crossings. There are places all over Vermont all you have to do is step one foot and your in Canada. Some of the houses are half in Canada and half in the US. In the front door out the back door and your in the US.:scratch
 

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I'm happy to hear they get to keep everything. I stand by my earlier comments about dealing with what situations are handed you, but at the same time I'm glad they don't have to lose the ground. It's tough to restrategize any business and a farm's no different. Kudos to that family for just having the stones to stay in the dairy business in this day and age.
 
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