Kansas farmer to trespassers: ‘It’s ridiculous! It’s disrespectful!’

VALLEY CENTER, Kan. (KSNW) – A Kansas farmer said he’s fed up with people trespassing on his property.

Josh Patterson’s life is fairly simple. The fifth generation farmer spends a majority of his time tending to his crops and animals. When he’s not behind the wheel of a tractor or combine, he’s often spending time with his family who also shares his love for farming. There is, however, one thing Patterson does not love, trespassers.

“I was out feeding calves out at the farm and all of a sudden they just take off running and they break all of my fences,” said Josh Patterson.

Patterson, caught off guard on Sunday morning, quickly searched for the culprit.

“So then I look up in the sky and there’s a great big ole hot air balloon and we know what that means,” Patterson said.

Patterson said hot air balloons near his farm often mean trouble.

“Well, first off it’s a floating torch,” he said.

Patterson said the balloon was headed straight toward his brother-in-law’s freshly cut wheat field.

“Fire and wheat stubble, especially in low humidity does not equal good things,” Patterson said.

Patterson said the pilot ended up landing the balloon across the road in a nearby pasture, but not before it spooked his cattle, causing them to break some of his fencing. He said while it will cost him to repair the fence, he was more worried about his animals.

“We don’t want them to move a lot because then they lose pounds and when they lose pounds, we lose money. When we lose money that’s a hit to our livelihood,” he said.

This was not the first time a hot air balloon as landed near or on Patterson’s property. Patterson said about two years ago a pilot landed in his newly planted soybean field, damaging a portion of his crop.

“To me it’s just a major slap in the face and disrespectful,” he said.

A Kansas commercial balloon pilot and instructor told KSN landing in crop fields or near animals is highly discouraged, but it does occasionally happen especially if the winds change direction during flight. The expert said most of the time things can be worked out between land owner and pilot.

However, Patterson said he’s had enough.

“It’s ridiculous! It’s disrespectful! I don’t go to their yards and drive around and do whatever I want, so why are they going to do it to me?” he said.

Patterson said in both ballooning cases the pilots have not offered to pay for the damage done to his crops or fence. He has contacted the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office about the incidents.

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