“It’s a perverse use of eminent domain,” says Brian Rainville. “There is no public good here.”
He stood on a green field, filled with alfalfa and grass, on the gentle rolling hills of his family’s Franklin, Vermont farm… just steps from the Canadian border. He says the barn dates back to 1800, and the land is on the national registry of historic places. But Brian’s family, who have been dairy farmers here since 1946, may not have the land much longer. The United States Government says it needs 4.9 acres of the family’s property to help protect national security.
The Rainville farm sits on the Morses Line border crossing, a sparsely used two lane blacktop with an aging Customs and Border Protection building that the Department of Homeland Security wants to modernize and expand. The agency plans to use stimulus funds to build a new $8 million dollar, multi-lane complex, and says it needs the nearly five acres of the Rainville’s farmland to complete it.
The Rainvilles say the project will put their farm out of business. With the farm losing money, every inch of land is needed, especially the land they use to grow hay to support their cows for the production of milk.
“We are in a good fight here,” says Brian, “This has been a good living for three generations. We are only the third family in 200 years to own the property, and the thought that our own government is going to destroy us! This has been our American dream for a century, it can’t end that way,” he says sadly.