A county road project threatened Hmong farmers' fields. Then the Legislature stepped in
June 13, 2023
Judy Yang spent her Monday weeding, watering and preparing to plant broccoli, cabbage, sweet corn and other crops in rural Dakota County, where she's part of a Hmong farmers collective.
Until recently, the county had proposed condemning up to 20 acres of that farmland for a new highway exchange. That could have eliminated the plots of several of the Hmong American Farmers Association's small-scale farmers, who make up more than half the growers at Twin Cities farmers markets.
The Legislature stepped in, including language in the 2023 bonding bill that will keep the government from ever taking HAFA's 155 acres of land without their consent. The county said it had already decided the project to rebuild the interchange at Hwy. 52 and County Road 66 was too expensive, but the new law provides another safeguard.