Local News

Sweet potato farmers say they have growing problem

Posted October 13, 2010

— The owners of sweet potato farm near Garner say they have a growing problem on their hands – people are stealing their crop.

Ronny Langdon and Gerry Sutton, owners of Brook Hill Farms near the intersection of Ten Ten and Old Stage roads, say that they’ve lost an estimated $300 in recent weeks because of passersby picking the crop without permission and without paying.

Wednesday morning, they say, they arrived at the farm to find 14 parked vehicles of people picking sweet potatoes.

“We’ve always had to deal with it, but it seems like it’s a little bit worse this year than normal,” Langdon said.

The two say they are also seeing the same problem on farms they own in Johnston and Harnett counties.

“We’re out here working hard, and this is our livelihood,” Sutton said.

It’s not just sweet potatoes. The owner of a nearby pumpkin farm says he often finds pumpkins missing from his crop.

The farmers say they often allow customers into certain areas of their farms if they ask permission.

Langdon and Sutton say they have thought about posting signs in an attempt to curb the loss.

“It's been a tough year with the weather and all we've had, and you add what we're dealing with now at harvest time,” Langdon said.


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  • Justin T. Oct 14, 2010

    The sad thing is that sweet potatoes aren't even that tasty until they've aged. So... steal your potato, refrigerate at the correct temperature and humidity for a year, then eat.

  • commonsensenc Oct 14, 2010

    I saw them out in the fields Sunday, I thought they were migrants doing their job, but that would explain so many cars. If this was less of a rural county I would imagine the pickers would have heard a shot gun blast or two to inform them they were trespassing. They need to post no trespassing signs around the field and let the Sheriff haul all the confused off to jail or fine them more than their treasure of 10-30 sweet potatoes.

  • crckttsgr Oct 14, 2010

    "really, a big $300? I'd say that's how it goes when people don't have jobs and are hungry. Be glad they are taking more. Hire some security or donate a few crops to the needy, you decide which is cheaper on you."

    Really? So then, it would be perfectly ok with you for someone to, say, siphon off $300 of gas from your car, because they didn't have the $$ to buy their own and they needed to get to work or go look for a job, and hey, well this is what happens when people are out of work and hungry? And you would just be "glad they weren't taking more", right? Just want to be sure I have all the facts here. Oh, and it's cool if someone breaks in your house and steals your food, right? You probably leave teh door unlocked for them don't you?

  • crckttsgr Oct 14, 2010

    I go by there everyday. Many days you see the cars along the road and lots of people in the field loading up buckets of sweet potatoes.

  • wildcat Oct 14, 2010

    He should have called the police. That is stealing

  • LIVEITUP Oct 14, 2010

    I can't believe that people are saying "It's just potatoes...find something else to complain about..."!! Do you have any idea how many sweet potatoes it takes to =$300??? A LOT! Hire security...Seriously?? You folks need to have a little love for the farmers! Without them, you would be really hungry....or did you think greenbeans grow in a can? Shame on you!

  • fishon Oct 14, 2010

    Evidently from the story these farmers have a problem with it. Their property and people ares stealing it. How about someone comes to your yard and steals something from you johnbennis? After all people have been stealing for years so that makes it ok?

  • johnbenennis Oct 14, 2010

    This is bs. I have lived in harnett county for 20 years and no one has ever had a problem with picking up the taters after the farmer gets all they want. Farmers harvest sweet potatoes as soon as their plowed, they dont wait overnight. then all they do is plow up the ones they dont want in the next few days. lets find something else to complain about people!!

  • Jim Britt Oct 14, 2010

    Stealing is bad, pul-lease; starving is bad. Anyway, sounds like a job for the sheriff.

  • Peace Love and Cold Meds Oct 13, 2010

    "they’ve lost an estimated $300"

    really, a big $300? I'd say that's how it goes when people don't have jobs and are hungry. Be glad they are taking more. Hire some security or donate a few crops to the needy, you decide which is cheaper on you.