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14 Easements on One Farm? No Way!

14 Easements on One Farm? No Way!
Dealing with utilities and easements nearly full-time job on this farm!

Jack Maloney knows a thing or two about dealing with all kinds of utilities, especially pipelines that run petroleum products underground to various locations. Maloney, Brownsburg, says there are 14 easements on the land he farms – that means 14 separate easements that cross his farm on their way to other locations.

Part of the reason for the high number of easements is that Maloney farms not far outside of Brownsburg in southern Hendricks County, a developing area. It's also an area where pipelines crisscrossing Indiana make their way from their origination toward their destination.

What happens when you have an easement on your property? Here are some typical restrictions and headaches.

Where it starts: Part of the products produced at the CountryMark refinery near Mt. Vernon are shipped by pipeline. Wherever an underground pipeline goes, there is an easement.

• No building: Most easement contracts don't allow you to erect any kind of structure on the easement. Easement width varies. Seventy-five to 100 feet in width is common

• Frequent fly-overs: Many utilities, especially companies like AT&T with buried communication cables, fly their easements from one end to the other regularly. No permanent vegetation, such as trees, is usually allowed on the easement. The company wants pilots to have an unobstructed view of the pipeline. If something is going on in the easement that looks suspicious, they send someone on the ground to investigate promptly.

• Changes tiling patterns: One of the biggest headaches for Maloney is that since he still has some fields he wants to pattern tile, he has to consider where easements for various varies pipelines or cable are before as he lays out the tile drainage installation pattern. Sometimes he has to break the field up in sections and tile a section at a time so that he isn't crossing an easement.

• Call before you dig: The fastest way to get a utility person to your farm if you really need to talk to one is to drive onto their easement with a backhoe. Of course they may not be in a very good mood when they arrive. Most utilities require notification if you're going to be digging, such as installing tile or building a soil conservation practice, anywhere near their easement.

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TAGS: Tillage
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