Crop damage from off-roader leaves P.E.I. farmer frustrated
‘It’s not like they drove over two rows — they drove over hundreds of rows'
A farmer from Queens County says he is growing increasingly frustrated with off-road vehicles damaging his crops and fields.
Logan Docherty took to social media last week posting a photo of tracks criss-crossing his freshly-planted potato field.
Docherty said not only does the damage expose the seed to the elements, it also creates the potential for a washout, which could damage his crops and nearby waterways.
"Our potato field has been planted in straight rows, and basically they came in through a hedge line and they directly went straight across the field, criss-crossing back and forth," said Docherty, 26, who farms with his father Alex and grandfather Kenneth at Skye View Farms in Elmwood, P.E.I.
"It has now allowed for — if we were to get a torrential rainfall — to create a washout, and unfortunately I know that whoever the people were who have done this do not care."
'Blatantly disregarded' planted crop
Docherty said the damage also removed the hills which protect the potato seed from the sun.
"It's not like they drove over two rows, they drove over hundreds of rows and just blatantly disregarded the fact that there was a crop planted."
Docherty said he didn't report it to police, because he has no idea who may be responsible.
"I don't know the colour of the bikes, I don't know the size of them, I don't know if the riders had blue helmets or pink helmets."
Queens District RCMP Staff Sgt. Shane Hubley says these incidents can be difficult to investigate, especially if the farmer did not see the damage take place. He said farmers put a lot of time, effort and money into their fields so their concerns are legitimate.
Hubley said if it's an ongoing issue, farmers should contact police and they can increase patrols to the area.
Installing surveillance cameras on farm
"It may just be that the individuals aren't aware of the rules and they think it's OK to cross through this field because it's not on the road, it's off the road," said Hubley. "But without the expressed permission of the owner of the property it is illegal to operate that machine on that property."
Skye View Farms is installing surveillance cameras in an effort to protect its fields and crops from more damage.
Docherty said he's hearing from a lot of farmers who are experiencing similar problems. He would like those responsible to come forward.
"If the two people that did do this damage would come forward and say, 'Look, I am sorry. We did it and we really did not understand the effects of it,'" said Docherty.
"It's not going to help the situation but it will, with a little feedback from me, hopefully make them understand."