The Hendricken potato warehouse is empty. ((CBC))

Last year's wet crop may have been the last straw for a prominent family of potato farmers and activists in central P.E.I.

The Hendrickens have been farming in Pisquid, northeast of Charlottetown, for almost 50 years. But they are now about $2.5 million in debt, and bankruptcy protection was recently removed by the farm debt review board last week.

"We're trying to keep our creditors at bay and have a little more patience. They've been good up until now," said Danny Hendricken.

"If they move now, before we've identified other potential investors they're going to get a lot less money than they otherwise could have."

No crop went in the ground at the Hendricken farm this year. There was no money to plant it. After years of trouble, things were looking up for the Hendrickens a year ago. The crop looked good, prices were up, but then rain through August and September flooded the fields, and rot hit the potatoes.

"Our crop, basically two thirds of it, just melted and disintegrated in the warehouse," said Hendricken.


Danny Hendricken watched a chance to pay off the family debt rot in the warehouse. ((CBC))

"We would have had the option to pay off all existing debt, all the debt that was incurred over the last decade paid off, and had enough money probably to invest in the crop, to put the crop in the ground this year. Well, that didn't materialize. Our ability to do that simply evaporated."

This week, a receiver will start cataloguing the equipment, the first step to the bank foreclosing.

The family still has one card to play, a new federal program that helps finance the transfer of farms from parents to children. It's one last chance for the family to keep the farm.