To begin, this is not my field. Or my father’s field. Or my neighbor’s. But it could be and has been in the past.
Last year, during harvest while driving the grain cart, my father-in-law came over a rise in one field and found a car. It was determined by police that the driver and friends took a ride down the fence line and struck out into our field where they got hung up on a low-spot and killed the engine. The group must have walked back to the road and caught a ride or stumbled home. Unfortunately, this is not an unusual occurrence.
What you see in the picture above is the path a vehicle – car, truck, or ATV – cut through a corn field last weekend. According to the local police department’s report, it is one of three, the farmer discovered. Was the culprit apprehended? I haven’t heard but would guess probably not. They rarely are and so the farmer eats the cost of lost product.
Vandalism to our fields happens way too often. I attribute this to an incredible lack of respect for property, but also lack of knowledge that these rows of corn are owned by someone and those rows are his/her business.
Driving down Main Street in Any Town, USA, recognizing a business is simple. There is a storefront, a sign, a parking lot, a door, hours of operation, lights, a person behind a counter or at a desk. But driving mile after mile of open space covered in golden wheat, oats, soybeans or corn rows with no indication of borders or boundaries, no indication of ownership, one might think this is open public space on which no one has a claim.
Unlike stores, which may have security cameras or be in sight of cameras or someone out for a late night stroll, fields are not protected by alarm systems. Nor do they come with locks or brick walls; so, a vehicle can drive right in and all too often, drive right out with no consequence to the driver.
If you ever decide to take a joyride in a field, please know you are committing a crime. You are trespassing. You are vandalizing property and violating a family and their business.
Understand that you will damage your vehicle. Guaranteed. There are low spots, high spots, sink holes, rocks – boulders, for that matter, and fence posts. Whether it is day or night, you will not see what is coming next when flying through 10-foot tall corn.
And not seeing what comes next could result in harm to you and or your passengers.
But with so many acres of corn, what does a little trek off the beaten path really cost? Brian, who writes The Farmers’ Life blog, posted this recently, “What Is One Ear of Corn Worth?” He estimates one ear is worth an additional $25.63 per acre. Check out his math and explanations.
Bottom line, destruction of property is always wrong. Stick to the roads and stay out of our fields.