End of the line?

With­out help fifth gen­er­a­tion fam­ily farmer may give up

The Western Star - - CLOSE TO HOME - BY FRANK GALE [email protected]­ern­star.com Twit­ter: @WS_FrankGale

Don White of Stephenville says the flood­ing this past week­end in the Noel’s Pond val­ley is the worst he’s ever seen in his fam­ily’s his­tory.

He and his brother Louis White, also of Stephenville, are fifth gen­er­a­tion farm­ers on the prop­erty, which was dev­as­tated by week­end flood­ing with wa­ter get­ting into build­ings that it hadn’t be­fore and sand, silt, rocks and trees strewn about the prop­erty.

The tears come as his wife Myra White talks about be­ing glad that Don’s mother, Ce­cilia White, who died in July of 2017, is not around to see these dam­ages be­cause she loved the prop­erty so much.

Flood­ing on the farm is not new as wa­ter has got onto it be­fore but never to the ex­tent it did this time, also tak­ing out their tame rasp­berry and straw­berry patches, the area where they plant their crops and ru­in­ing a big sec­tion of their hay­field.

“I don’t like to say it, but I’ve been telling gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials what needs to be done to rem­edy this for the past 27 years and no­body lis­tens,” Don said.

He said start­ing with his fa­ther Al­bert White, they’ve been deal­ing with these flood­ing is­sues since 1972 but prob­lems never ex­isted be­fore that.

White said since he and Louis have taken over the farm from his fa­ther he’s had sev­eral dozen meet­ings with Town of Stephenville of­fi­cials and all per­ti­nent gov­ern­ment de­part­ments, in­clud­ing wa­ter re­sources peo­ple and MHA John Finn last Oc­to­ber.

“Dur­ing the years they all ac­knowl­edged there was a prob­lem and walked away say­ing they would do some­thing but here we are decades later and the prob­lem still ex­ists,” he said.

White said Global Warm­ing is be­ing blamed for the flood­ing in the area but he doesn’t buy that and blames it on bar­ri­ers put up through the years.

“Com­bine bar­ri­ers with clear cut­ting in the hills in the last 10 to 15 years up to the end of the Warm Creek sys­tem and the re­sult is flash flood­ing,” he said.

White said with the amount of dam­age at the farm right now, if they don’t get some kind of as­sis­tance, he don’t know where he’s go­ing with it.

“We (him and Louis) don’t have the re­sources to deal with those dam­ages,” he said. “It could be the end of the line for farm­ers in the fam­ily.”

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FRANK GALE/THE WEST­ERN STAR

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