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Farmers say TDOT isn’t giving them a fair price for their land

On Behalf of | Jun 22, 2023 | Eminent Domain |

The multi-billion-dollar Ford Motor Co. plant that’s being built just outside Memphis, which the vehicle manufacturer has named BlueOval City, will be a central site for making the company’s electric vehicles (EVs). Ford has called the planned 4,100 acre facility its “first mega campus in more than a generation” and intends to run it on “100% renewable energy,” no waste and reusable water. 

There’s no doubt that it will be an economic boon to the area. However, the farmers who are being displaced through eminent domain as well as by direct purchase by the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) say they’re only getting a fraction of what their land is worth. 

One farmer who says the state has taken multiple legal actions against him because he won’t accept their offer that he considers far too law puts it this way: “They want your land, but they don’t want you to participate in the wealth.”

Multiple legal actions

The DOT needs to build and widen roads to access BlueOval City, and that means taking land that has been handed down over generations of predominantly African-American families. So far, the state has already taken 15 of the 35 tracts it needs. Two involved court actions. They say they’re negotiating with the farmers for the remainder. There are multiple lawsuits pending.

A spokesperson for the state says farmers are being offered the market value of property, which is “assessed at the time of the negotiations” by certified independent appraisers. She contends that landowners have a right to make a counter offer if they don’t think they’ve been offered enough and that the state is only asserting eminent domain “if we cannot otherwise come to an agreement.

The farmers involved in this battle insist that they welcome the economic growth that BlueOval City will bring to their area and that can ultimately benefit their families. However, they also want a fair price for the land that they and generations before they have farmed. 

This is a common issue when the government uses eminent domain to take over private property. When that property belongs to you, it can feel like you’re going up against forces far more powerful and well funded than you. That’s why experienced legal guidance is crucial to protect your rights and your financial well-being.