Plan could satisfy landowners affected by the ND diversionFargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Many area landowners are against the North Dakota diversion plan because it would take their land out of production, but in the Southeast Cass Joint Water Resource District, there is talk of fixing that problem. Some members are trying to come up with a plan to buy up available land and swap it with affected landowners.
No matter which path the North Dakota diversion takes, Tom Beaton stands to lose at least 400 acres of land; some of that he owns, some he rents out. But when he heard about the possibility of swapping land, he says that's something he could support.
“If they can get comparable land for us, and get us four to five acres for one acre of ours, I would consider that.”
Beaton wants the extra acres because of the inconvenience of being forced to give up his land for the project.
“Taking the land right around our farming operation now, and we're going to have to travel farther to get comparable land.”
North Dakota State Senator Tom Fischer sits on the joint water resource board and says something similar was done when the Maple River Dam was built and it was successful.
“We're hoping we're able to do that and make it easier for people to make decisions as well as continue to do what they want to do.”
The land swap would be tax free for farmers, if they're paid for it, they'd be assessed.
“We're looking for quality land so that the land that we trade would be the same type of land that we're asking for.”
Fischer says if the plan goes forward, the board would look at buying land close to the farmsteads.
“After the harvest this year is when we would look and there's always some land for sale somewhere.”
While Beaton likes the sound of the plan, he has doubts it can work because right now in Cass County, he says the real estate market is dry. Fischer hopes to discuss the land swap plan and get more ideas tomorrow morning at the joint water resource board's meeting.