Rose farm closes doors
A MAREEBA rose farmer has made the difficult decision to close her business after her crops were completely destroyed by an aerial spray being used on a neighbouring property earlier this year.
Nicole Dixon-Mills and her husband, Alan, have owned Mareeba Roses for 12 years.
The couple have had it tough over the years, having to completely rebuild and replant in 2011 after their crop of 20,000 roses was destroyed in Cyclone Yasi.
After getting back on their feet, the couple faced another hurdle in February when their thousands of rose and gerbera plants were drenched in aerial spray being used on a neighbouring paddock.
“It was just before Valentines Day and they poisoned everything,” Mrs Dixon-Mills said.
“My husband and I were in the greenhouse that morning and we got sprayed.
“We got really sick and we were vomiting for 16 days straight.
“The crop duster, which was based out of Innisfail and Tully, wouldn’t tell us what the chemicals were when we rang him and he just told us ‘don’t worry we sprayed you organic’.
“Had he told me what it was, we could have known it was poisonous for the flowers, stopped the harvesting then and there and hosed them down and we could have saved our crop.”
Mrs Dixon-Mills said she had contacted several government departments but had no luck in finding out what the chemicals were or receiving compensation for the damage to her crops.
She said the damage to her farm created a huge impact on her family’s livelihood, including almost losing their home.
“I went from picking one whole coldroom a day of roses to one bucket,” Mrs DixonMills said.
“After the crop dusting and Mother’s Day, I copped so much crap because people know this is the rose farm and they’re dropping in but we didn’t have the flowers.”
Mrs Dixon-Mills has now obtained a casual job for the Department of Health and recently found out that she will be able to keep her house, which she said “is the best Christmas present ever”.
“When I look back I’ve enjoyed my time,” she said.
“I feel sad – I’ve met so many wonderful people and I’ve buried some wonderful people too.
“I love doing flowers and I like helping people with their weddings and things like that, so to lose that side of things is very sad.
“I’ve got my last wedding to do this weekend and then that’ll be it. It’ll be sad.”
Nicole Dixon-Mills has made the difficult decision to close down her Mareeba rose farm after her crops were sprayed with chemicals and destroyed by a passing plane earlier this year.