With the recent outlandish statements made by Clean Line Energy in the past couple weeks combined with Clean Line Energy’s “Code of Conduct” , I’ve been doing a bit of thinking. After a thorough search of the internet there doesn’t appear to be a Land Owners Code of Conduct when dealing with land agents. It’s surprising no farm organization has proposed such a document to describe fair and civil practices when dealing with land agents. It’s surprising these companies have a code of conduct, not that a generic document guarantees ethical negotiations.
Land agents serve one purpose. They exist for farmers, landowners and rural Americans to abuse. They have no authority. They never sign the check and require approval for any offer. I really don’t think their goal is to get people to sign over easements. I suspect the purpose of land agents is only to serve the process as the company moves towards eminent domain. Sure a couple easements will be obtained, but most actual utility companies have learned not to rely on land agents and use them as merely a cog in the wheel. For those few speculation projects foolish enough to use the out dated tactics and believe land agents are relevant, here are a few suggestions for a Landowners Code of Conduct as land agents are merely a part of the managerial process.
Landowners Code of Conduct
- Do not develop a sudden case of torette's syndrom that makes you yell an obscenity every time the land agent asks you to sign something. Take your medication
- Do not add foreign substances to food and drink and then insist that your land agent partake in refreshment. Making them think that you did is still acceptable.
- Land agents like banana muffins and other backed goods. (Mike Waller).
- Tell the land agent “I can't talk right now. My dear (fill the blank with a favorite deceased relative) has passed away. Don't mention the dearly departed went to his/her heavenly reward in 1972.
- You may insist that the CLEP project manager visit in person, but when he arrives do not demand that he dress up like Waldo and hide around your farm, or promise that if you can’t find him, he wins and you will sign his easement agreement.
- Do not meet the land agent at the gate driving a vehicle with guns on the roof.
- 1. If landagents or development directors harvests a patch of wild cannabis, report it immediately. If the landagent mistakens horseweed for cannabis, help him fill his car. Been there. Seen that.
- It is acceptable to negotiate with a land agent out on the easement in January. Dress appropriately. The goal is land agent fearing frostbite.
- Land agents sorely lack experience in castrating calves, clipping needle teeth, docking tails, shearing sheep, or butchering chickens. A kind landowner will allow the land agent to gain such needed exposure. Training in AI cattle and hogs would also be a bonus for the land agent.
- Think manure... Of the barnyard nature.
- Have a skunk under the chicken house? Borrow a land agent.
- Land agents will be taking copious notes after the meeting to present to the eminent domain judge as proof of attempting negotiations. Ask the land agent for a copy of his notes of your meeting.
- Smartphones have some great recording apps. Ask the land agent if he is comfortable with you record the conversation.
- "Smart Voice Recorder" is an excellent android app.
- Ask the land agent for a copy of his Code of Conduct. If he does not have a Code of Conduct, be prepared. Give him a copy.
- Throughout the meeting with the land agent perpetual bate him to violate his Code of Conduct while being recorded.
- When you believe the land agent has violated his code of conduct, casually ask him if he can put that in writing.
- Play the movie “Deliverance” during the land agent’s visit. Practice your banjo. Tell him he has a “purty mouth.” (This one works better in the South!)
- While loving to shoot the bull, land agents and Directors of Development have an inherent fear of bulls. Exploiting the fear without harming the animal is acceptable.
- If you own an airplane, consider taking the land agent for a ride over the easement. Land agents fear being out of control.
- If you must meet the land agent and don't have livestock excrement to exploit. Have a goal of getting the land agent to buy you lunch. Have a quiet place in mind. Quiet restaurants are often more expensive. Also, most directors of development are wiry little twerps who don’t eat much. Most land agents are quite round and do like to eat. It will all be billed to the company and the land agent will tell the company progress is being made. Run the tab up. If the property is co-owned by multiple family members, treat it as a family reunion and everyone ignore the guy paying the bill.
- Invite him to attend church with you on Sunday. Pray loudly for his immortal soul.
- Make the land agent watch home videos of your grandchildren running around in saggy diapers
- When land agents start having eminent domain papers served, make a contest with your neighbors to see who can avoid the person serving the court papers wins. At this point, it is fun to follow the private detective attempting to serve papers and inform the neighbors just before he arrives. Any farmers on vacation to Hawaii for the winter cannot play this fun game.
- Throughout the process, compare with your neighbors and see who tortured the land agent the best. Always look to one up your neighbor.
- Need extra labor putting up a fence? Borrow a land agent for a day.
- Have sweetcorn to husk. Borrow a land agent.
- While holding small grandchildren, rip a fart, blame it on the child, and ask the land agent how he is at changing messy diapers.
- Horse stall need cleaning? Borrow a land agent.
- Gutters need cleaning? Borrow a land agent.
- How about a field cultivator rodeo. Ask the land agent to stand out in the middle of the field and pretend he is a monopole. See how close the field cultivator cane come to him without hitting him or making him more.
- Ask him to identify every stain on his Carhart jacket (if there are any stains)
- Invite him to participate in a snipe hunt with you and all the other local landowners.
- Enter him in as many contests, door prizes as appropriate at the county fair for sales calls and travel agents.
- Enter him in livestock contests or horse events. Don’t provide an animal.
- Ask him or her to sit in your charity event dunking booth. Extra points will be awarded if your charity is a citizen’s opposition group to his own project.
- Allow your child to practice face painting on the land agent
- Need your garden weeded? Call the land agent.
- For the mature lady landowners, do not tempt young and pretty male land agents. If you’re a mature woman no amount of winks, hip wiggles, and low cut brouses to displays excessive cleavage is proper. Cougar growls is acceptable. Actually, this is not acceptable for the mature male landowner either.
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
The worst combination is a robber baron combined with the bureaucrat moral busybody supporting “clean” energy.