Farmers win in appeals case to get payments for flooded land on Missouri River

A big win for a group of farmers along the Missouri River after an appeals court ruled in their favor.

The court case started in 2007 when the Army Corps of Engineers flooded hundreds of farms along the river destroying crops and ag land. Producers sued the government for the losses, but the initial ruling did not grant farmers repayments.

So, the American Farm Bureau stepped in to help with the appeal.
AFBF’s Deputy General Counsel Travis Cushman explains.

“Initially, the farmers won on the fact that their land had been taken but did not win on the lost crops they had of the seven to eight years or so before they filed the lawsuit. We got involved with the appeal to file a brief on behalf of the farmers arguing that their crops should be recoverable damages and explaining how farm economics work... The appellate court held not only was this a taking of the land, but also that the farmers deserve to be paid for all the crops that were destroyed over the seven years as the AFBF brief had argued,” Cushman explains. “This is a huge win not only for those at stake, but it sets an important precedent that the government can’t just be flooding land and destroying crops without paying for it. Otherwise, the government would have a pretty perverse incentive to slowly be just flooding lands when it wants to do things like this and not have to pay the farmers for the hard work they did in putting these crops together.”

The appeals court opinion states that the government violated the fifth amendment by taking private property without just compensation.

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