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CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a businesses law attorney, with experience advising and representing owners and investors.
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I am a farmer from St., Mn.. I have an irrigation system and

Customer Question

I am Charles Noren and I am a farmer from St. James, Mn.. I have an irrigation system and there is a number of them in the area. Last yr., about 2-3 miles away, two households filed an out-of-water complaint with the Mn. DNR. They identified 2 close irrigators to those households as the probable cause of the outage and 2 more possible contributing irrigators. Mine wasn't mentioned. Those 4 irrigators objected and asked the DNR to prove it and they ran a pumping test last fall. They concluded that those sites probably caused it. The case is still not resolved and in fact they have now drawn the rest of us into it. There is signed memorandum from the DNR just stating the 4 original irrigators as the cause of the outage. I suspect that those 4 irrigators want help paying for the outage and have brought everyone into question. Do I have any right to say I do not want any part of it and if the DNR would happen to bill me anyway do I have a right to refuse to be involved in anyway? Thanks! ......Sincerely, Charles
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

Thank you for using our forum, my name is ***** ***** I look forward to assisting you today.

Unfortunately you cannot "opt out" of this matter. These administrative matters tend to "mushroom" rather than shrink.

I grew up in, and work in, agricultural communities and I understand the importance of having access to functioning well water. I would highly recommend making a cost/benefit analysis here: how much is it going to cost you to be without water (and or pay the fine - depending on which way the DNR is headed here), then compare that to the cost of hiring a local ag lawyer (look for an attorney that actually understands agricultural law - you may have to search around a bit, don't settle for a general practitioner that has to bring themselves up to speed on your dime).

You can usually push back against these "fishing expeditions" but in my experience you have to be aggressive up front, it is very hard to do so on the back end (once the administrators have made their findings that your well or water usage is at issue, it is very hard to disprove that finding - you are then fighting an uphill battle).

While it appears you are already in a good position (they made a finding against the 4 neighboring farms), anticipate that costs may eventually include additional testing (if you have to disprove something the DNR finds later).

Again, this is all cost/benefit analysis - don't spend more than you are going to benefit - but do understand these findings are hard to change later on.

I truly do wish you the best of luck with this matter.