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Letter: U of M has not been a good neighbor

To the editor,

This is not about being a good neighbor. This is about power and greed. In 1940 the U.S. government had acquired over 5,000 acres in Dakota County for an ammunition plant which was in operation only a short while. The University of Minnesota bought 5,000 acres for $1 to be used for research which they did. Then they rented tillable land to the farmers.

The farmers rented the land at price per acre. Plus the farmer has to pay the real estate taxes. The University of Minnesota does not pay real estate taxes; some of these farmers have rented the land for 50 years or more. They have to fertilize and use chemicals on the land year after year for quality and quantity to get good crops.

And now the University of Minnesota is not renting them the land, they are tilling it themselves. The reason is they say they had to give up some acres to the contractors who are mining 1,500 acres of gravel. Now these contractors are paying the University of Minnesota for this gravel they are removing plus the real estate taxes, which is good, but the farmer is the loser; he has to pay real estate taxes for this year but cannot farm it. The University of Minnesota farms about 3,000 acres. They are losing about 200 acres from the mining operation. They want to take 200 acres from the rented farmers to replace their loss.

Then with 3 to 5 million dollars a year the University of Minnesota will be getting from the gravel that will help pay for the contamination on the property we hope.

Myron Napper,


Spokesperson for the Concerned Citizens Group of Dakota County