A Caledon, Ont., farmer has lost about $10,000 worth of crops after ATVers trespassed on a local field and damaged them last month.
This prompted Caledon OPP to remind ATVers that there are no public trails owned or maintained by the Town of Caledon that allow motor vehicles. People must ride on their own properties unless they have prior permission from a land owner to be on their property.
“We’re talking about trespassing on property — it’s been increasing in nature in this part of the community, and we need to highlight some of the challenges that trespassing (on) property demonstrates for farmers,” Caledon farmer David Lyons said in an OPP Twitter video Wednesday.
A local spokesperson with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) said farms and the entire farm property, including fields and forests, are private property.
“Farmers take great pride in their properties and the crops they grow that provide food, fibre and fuel for Ontario and beyond,” said Leah Emms, an OFA member service representative for Peel, Simcoe and York regions.
“It is very disrespectful to trespass, whether it’s by foot, ATV, dirt bike, truck or snowmobile. It causes damage to crops that may seem insignificant to you but are very significant to the farmer. Also, there’s a risk of introducing diseases and invasive species as well that can be transported on those vehicles or by your person.”
Riders who trespass on farm property can be charged with trespassing. If damages occur, the person responsible may be charged criminally with mischief.
“While an empty field may seem like a great place to harmlessly operate your ATV or ORV, it’s also a great place for farmers to raise their crops, to support their families and to feed ours,” said Caledon OPP spokesperson Iryna Nebogatova.