Keep city expansion out of farm fields

To the editor:

According to Greg Orear in Sunday’s Journal, housing is the “biggest problem” and the solution is “annexing more land” because he sees “a lot of empty fields on Highways 14, 15, and 29.”

We wonder which empty fields he is referring to. As members of the agricultural community, many of those fields are prime agricultural land and are used as such.

Perhaps one should look at all the empty lots in housing developments that currently have utilities; Lakeside Village and Milford Heights come to mind. In fact, just last week we read in The Journal, that HRA was looking at landscaping in Milford Heights because those homes and lots were not selling.

The city could do a better job with planning. For instance, farm fields behind the Menard’s store now flood because of the water runoff draining into agricultural tile that was never meant for that purpose. The Excel Energy transformer for the City was built on approximately 11 acres of prime farm land that could easily have been placed on the 40 or so acres the City already owns at the bottom of the 23rd North and Broadway hill. More farm land was already annexed to build the new school and now the National Guard Armory.

New Ulm needs to do a better job using the land they already have. Farmers just outside of the city limits have a right to their livelihoods too. It is very disheartening to us when someone gets an idea they proceed without any input from the very people it will affect.

So, please citizens of New Ulm, start respecting your agricultural neighbors! Farmers support your businesses, shopping, schools and churches. We are an important voice in any plans you are considering.

Willis and Kristine Runck

New Ulm

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