Four state Farm Bureaus support landowner cases

Landowners in several Midwest states are suing the government for not compensating them for land taken for rails-to-trails and similar public projects.

Meghan Largent, an attorney with Lewis Rice LLC in St. Louis, points to the case of a landowner in Franklin County, Iowa who had one-third of her 45-acre farm taken as part of the 144 mile right of way for the proposed Rock Island Trail, “In the interim, the landowners have been completely pre-empted from getting their land back. There are no more tracks and ties. This railroad would have been abandoned under Missouri law but for this federal order.”

The federal government is required to pay landowners for having their land taken by states.  But, in this case and others, Largent says, the feds have appealed, arguing they DO NOT owe the landowners compensation.

“The government’s trying to change the law. So, the Missouri, Illinois, Iowa and Kansas Farm Bureaus became involved and I represented them in that case because it affects SO many landowners in their states that are affected by these takings.”

Largent filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of those four state Farm Bureaus, arguing that the Iowa landowner should win the case. Largent says they are not against the trail or for the trail. It’s about getting landowners the just compensation they deserve.

Interview with Meghan Largent

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