[Market-farming] Helicopters

road's end farm organic101 at linkny.com
Thu Jul 13 09:56:25 EDT 2006


On Jul 13, 2006, at 6:46 AM, Pat Rupiper wrote:

> They fly over our farm several times a month. It doesn't help that we 
> have a large creek that runs through our property. One year they came 
> through the bean fields with vehicles, convinced that on the other 
> side of the fence and creek something was growing. No apology and no 
> compensation for the crop loss.

It would seem to me that you're entitled to both apology and 
compensation. They were on your land without a warrant, which is not 
legal (though they may just be imitating Homeland Security, for whom 
it's not legal either, of course, but the current government doesn't 
seem to think this applies to them).

Did you call up their offices and demand compensation? (Depending on 
soil conditions, you may have not only immediate crop loss, but also 
compaction damage affecting future crops.)

Did you get ID of the specific people on your property? If not, did 
they refuse to show it to you, or were  you just too astonished to 
think to ask? did you get plate numbers of the vehicles?

If you called/wrote and got nothing or only more grief, did you point 
out that this doesn't look good in the papers/radio/TV, and then call a 
reporter? or several reporters?

Some of what people have been reporting on this thread is legal 
behaviour, about which nothing can be done, other than possibly voting 
for a more rational drug policy. Some of it sounds as if it's in 
violation of aviation laws (I think there are minimum height 
restrictions, though am not sure what they are; call the FAA, maybe, 
and ask?). If everybody puts up with the illegal behaviour, there will 
only be more of it.

Also, if the local drug hunting is scaring your livestock, try first 
calling them up and politely explaining this; they may know nothing 
about livestock and not understand the problem. (You could offer them a 
tour of the greenhouse and fields on foot, I suppose. I don't know 
whether you want to check with a lawyer first about that.) If they 
still keep buzzing the stock, try sending them a bill for your time 
calming them down and for lost production, with a note pointing out 
that humans can be seriously injured by frightened stock. I doubt 
they'll pay the bill (you might check with a lawyer about whether you 
have a legal case; and whether you would have one if somebody human 
actually gets hurt), but it might make them stay a little higher next 
time.

I've had an occasional helicopter over here, but not many, and not 
hazardously low (and an occasional one passing by may be Mercy Flight 
taking somebody to the hospital, not necessarily the drug people). I 
don't know whether the local authorities have better cameras, more 
sense, or just less money to waste on this.

-- Rivka; Finger Lakes NY, Zone 5 mostly
Fresh-market organic produce, small scale
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