At the annual Missouri Cattlemen’s Association Steak Fry Dinner, Governor Mike Parson signed into law the House Bill (HB) 2005. HB 2005 expands protections under the law for Missouri farm and ranch families in certain eminent domains.
“We are pleased to join the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, farmers and ranchers across the state in signing this long-awaited legislation,” Governor Parson said. “As a farmer myself, I understand the importance of strong property rights and that no farmer wants to be forced off the family farm by the government or anyone else. That’s why we’re signing HB 2005. This legislation provides fair protections for our farm families, reinforces the use of eminent domain, and ensures that the interests of Missouri farmers are always considered and balanced with the public good.
HB 2005 contains several provisions that change state law regarding the use of eminent domain by certain electric utilities:
- Power companies must have a substation or converter station in Missouri that provides an amount of power proportional to the length of their transmission line in the state;
- Utilities must secure the necessary financial commitments within seven years of obtaining an involuntary easement or the easement must be returned to the original title holder without reimbursement to the utility;
- The compensation rate for agricultural or horticultural land is increased to 150% of the fair market value, which is determined by the court; and
- In sentencing proceedings where disinterested commissioners are appointed, at least one member must be a local farmer who has operated in the county for at least 10 years.
“This bill is for the farmers and ranchers across our great state who travel to Jefferson City every week and thrash the halls of the Capitol,” said State Sen. Jason Bean. “These farm families have been making their case for years and with the expected approval of more power transmission projects, the time for property rights reform was absolutely right. We appreciate the leadership of Missouri farm groups who have helped pursue a fair bargaining position. Missourians shouldn’t have to spend their hard-earned money on legal fees trying to get a fair price for their land; their livelihood, which is simply not for sale.
“We embrace economic development, especially when it comes to improving our power grid,” said State Rep. Mike Haffner, “But we won’t do it on the backs of farmers, ranchers, and of Missouri’s agricultural industry.”
“Keeping the farm in the family is important to me, Governor Parson, and to the entire farming community,” Missouri Agriculture Director Chris Chinn said. “It’s important to protect every opportunity for the next generation to return to Missouri farms and ranches.”