Grass Farmer Takes Loss After Off-Roaders Go Mudding
WESLACO – A Rio Grande Valley grass farmer is trying to recover from a huge financial loss caused by trespassing off-roaders. The mudding enthusiasts carved out his property overnight.
“My wife heard the screaming of the engines last night at 9:30, 10 p.m.,” Felix Guajardo said.
He said about five minutes went by from the time he heard engines roaring on his property to silence. “The sheriff’s department said not to confront them, to call them. But by the time they get here, they’re gone,” he told us.
In the morning, he got a better view of the damage left behind. He and his wife couldn’t stomach what they saw. The damage done to the field was a five-acre loss, costing thousands of dollars. Guajardo shut down his farm for the day.
“We spend a whole year to get it ready to harvest, and then this happens. They ruin the crop,” the farmer said.
Guajardo irrigated his property earlier this week. He said the wet pasture made matters worse.
He said one acre of grass amounts to about 60 pallets. His selling rate is about $85 a pallet. With five acres damaged, that’s more than a $25,000 loss.
Guajardo, who has been a grass farmer for almost 50 years, said this isn’t the first time the crop was damaged a day or two before harvest. He said he can’t afford the constant loss in crop, time and money.
The muddy tracks lead to losses for clients as well. The farmer said he’s going to try to salvage what he can, but he said it may not be enough to break even.
Guajardo told us he hasn’t been able to harvest the same section of land for two years now. He said he’s considering taking other actions to prevent the problem from happening next yet.
According to Texas Penal Code, damage to the property qualifies as criminal mischief. Charges for the crime vary. A person can face a state jail felony if the loss amounts to $2,500 or more but less than $30,000.
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