A British Columbia farm had a vital piece of equipment stolen in last month’s floods and is asking its neighbors to support each other by keeping an eye out.
Daniel Oostenbrink, co-owner of The Local Harvest Market, said their M9540 Kubota tractor was stolen from their Lickman Road property in the early morning hours of November 26.
“It’s painful. We’re not mad at thieves, we’re more sorry that they feel the need to do it,” he told Glacier Media. “It hits the heart a little more when your fellows lower themselves so low.”
Their fields were flooded after a series of storms hit the province causing widespread damage and flooding.
“We had two feet or something like that total. Most of them fell in the second half of November, which is just crazy,” Oostenbrink recalls. “Our fields are generally well drained because we invested a lot of money in installing a drainage system but we had water everywhere, three to four inches on all the fields.
He says the damage was not as severe as that of his neighbors in flood-prone areas, but their crops were affected.
“There were a few things that suffered. We lost some of our carrots, the celery was really affected. Celery, we can usually keep it pretty late in the season, but we lost quite a bit there. ”
While trying to clean up after the flooding, they noticed that their tractor had been stolen.
“It was gone. They [the thieves] bypassed our door, to the front over there. There are universal keys in all of these tractors, ”he says.
Normally the farm keeps its tractor locked inside with an alarm system. But Oostenbrink says it was plugged into the outdoors, as staff faced the flooding.
RCMP said Glacier Media police officers carried out countless patrols in affected flood-prone areas.
Abbotsford Police have roving patrols along the roads and have also set up checkpoints in Sumas Prairie. Checkpoints are manned around the clock to provide additional protection.
The tractor will cost around $ 50,000 to replace.
“We end up without a machine which is a pretty essential piece of equipment for us because we have 40 acres of a mixed vegetable pasture farm,” says Oostenbrink. “We need a big enough tractor to pull our spreaders and do some of the work that we need to do. “
The BC farmer is now considering using manual labor and not relying on a machine to do the job.
“Maybe there is a way to do [it] without a piece of equipment and replace it with human force and employ the local population, ”he reflects.
A security camera captured part of the theft and also showed passing vehicles as it happened. Oostenbrink asks people to be vigilant. If you see anything suspicious, call the police, he said.