Pipeline to go through Bertrand Farm

Owners trying to figure out what to do with property

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By Daryl Bjoraas

NILES, Mich. -- In many ways, Theri Niemier's farm is just like any other.

Animals roam freely, and acres wait to be sewn.

But this year, a new pipeline could change all of that.

"Community impact. How do you put a price on that?" Theri Niemier asks. "And that's the grey area of loss we're going to experience."

Enbridge Incorporated, a Canadian oil company, is securing land through parts of Southwest Michigan.

Last week, a court granted the oil giant eminent domain; meaning a pipeline will pass through Niemier's barnyard.

"We're going to survive a year without it, however; Bertrand Farm Inc. might survive a year without it," Niemier said about the loss of property.

Part of her farm is dedicated to teaching people about sustainable agriculture.

Due to the placement and timing of this pipeline, she's already had to cancel summer programs.

"It's counter to what we believe, and what we teach," Niemier said. "And would make it really hard to have some ongoing problem while that whole construction is going on."

At a loss of what to do next, and still waiting to settle, Niemier is hoping Enbridge will buy the entire farm, and let the community take over programing.

"Bertrand Farm, Inc. can become the owners," Niemier said. "It'll go on as an educational facility forever."

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Several calls and emails were made to Enbridge; they were not returned.

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