Farmers Now Must Record Concrete & Rebar Burial

February 16, 2012

Did you know that farmers aren’t supposed to bury concrete on their land unless they give legal notice of its location? Most farmers don’t, but the issue of concrete and rebar burial is the subject of a recent Minnesota law change.

Based upon a presentation I listened to yesterday from a Freeborn County Land Use official, it sounds like there is differing opinion on whether farmers should be allowed to bury concrete on their land. Having grown up on a farm and living on one now, I know what happens. Buildings fall down, are taken out of use, or are destroyed in other ways. What’s left is a mess of concrete that needs to be taken care of, and burying the concrete seems like the fastest and easiest method of disposal. I know buried concrete exists on the farm homesite my family recently purchased, and I’ve seen other area farmers burying concrete as well. Minnesota lawmakers apparently agreed that the practice happens and isn’t against the law, because the recent law change presumes that farmers will bury such materials.

If you do bury concrete on your farm property, beware…Minnesota Statute 17.135, Farm Disposal of Solid Waste, puts additional requirements on landowners. You must bury the materials “in a nuisance-free, pollution-free, and aesthetic manner on the land used for farming.” More importantly, however, you’re now required to record an affidavit within 90 days of the burial. The affidavit should provide the legal description of the property, certify that you’ve complied with all applicable laws and regulations, and identify by map the location of the buried materials. The purpose, I suppose, it to give potential future owners of the property some notice that concrete lurks beneath the topsoil.

It currently costs $46 to record a document at your county office, so there is a fee for this reporting requirement. Interestingly, however, the state law does not provide a penalty for failure to record the affidavit.  Some counties do have zoning ordinances or planning requirements that provide penalties for failure to comply.  I also wouldn’t be surprised if purchase agreements are not modified in some way in the future to require disclosure of known concrete burial. And of course, the state law could always change to include a penalty for failure to record the affidavit.  So in the meantime…keep in mind that you’re supposed to record the burial of concrete and rebar.

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