Getting along with your neighbors

There will be times in fruit growing when getting along with your neighbors is challenging. I have neighbors that keep goats and most keep cows or raise grain or hay or all of the above. Cows will roam and are very destructive, I’ve managed to put up with at least a dozen escape herds a year that wind up at house and never had to call the police. As I get older I find that herd chasing, yelling, shewing to be more challenging. I had neighbors pull up a fence to sell once and I did call the sheriff in to ask they return it. I had another neighbor set fire accidentally to the fields and burn up equipment and hay that I did ask they pay for at cost I payed for repairs or replacement. How do you get a long with your neighbors? I realize in my area of Kansas it’s still a bit like the Wild West. It’s not unusual to see a half dozen snakes in a day or 30-40 cottontails. Coyotes and bobcats hunt the rodents as do the snakes. Hawks and owls hunt rodents from my fields. I have a belief we should get a long with our neighbors and that means at times turning a blind eye to a damaging escape herd. Kansas is a fence in state and not a fence out state so livestock owners know it’s their responsibility to maintain fence. I would bill someone if the cows ate down a fruit tree though they have and I didn’t. Many times because I sell hay as well and or trade for beef I figure it all works out. The rodent numbers build in the grain fields and then when combined the rodents mass exodus to the safety of the orchard field. Most cattle herds are under 30 head. The other night I woke up to 3 herds in my yard but 2 were smaller herds and the damage was minimal because of the drought. Hard dirt does not leave as big a hoof mark.

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As hard as it might be at times I think you have the right approach. Some will not respect you but I believe most will consider you a great neighbor. Bill

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My backyard was very overgrown with brush and Blackberry.I cleared a lot of it out and extended that somewhat into my neighbor’s yard and put down some wood chips.She was also the manager.We had an agreement,that I could plant some things there,as long as they didn’t interfere with access to some small sheds of hers.About the only things that were planted on her property,were a Pawpaw,an Autumn Olive and a Chester Blackberry.It’s difficult to tell what belongs to who,as there are no fences or dividing lines.
This Summer,she sold her place and when I first met the new neighbors,who speak mostly Spanish,I told them I’d move plants and to let me know.About the only thing they mentioned was an overgrown Wisteria at their carport.I felt comfortable with that.
They were doing a lot of remodeling there this past Summer,with building materials and scrap all around.Then one day,I went in the backyard area and the Autumn Olive was cut down.The owner happened to be there and I conveyed it to him how I felt and reminded him of our earlier conversation.But maybe they didn’t know the plant was put there by me,or a worker could have done it.I did dig up the Pawpaw before they moved in,being small and my only Overleese and didn’t want to chance it.
Thanks for posting some of your encounters,Clark.Mine seem small in comparison. Brady

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The neighbor who took up the fence and was forced by police to return it found that by the time they brought it back another fence was up. One of my other neighbors had installed a fence for me and paid his workers and for the materials to construct the fence and would not accept any money. The guy who constructed the fence while I was at work said to me I owed you one. Another neighbor told me he left me a side of beef at the butchers I needed to pick up. I find most people around here are good people if you give them a chance to be.

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So I had a very interesting interaction today. A neighbor (who I have not yet met) to my future orchard property sent me a message. This property is a farm field and I now own half of the field.

They mentioned that a farmer had been by today and they appear to have sprayed glyphosate over the whole field in preparation for planting crops. Apparently this farmer is not an adjacent landowner, or the landowner of the other half of the field. My new neighbor mentioned this farmer has apparently been farming the field this way for some amount of time. I can only assume the previous owners either did not know or did not care, but I most definitely do.

I have freshly painted markers for no trespassing and I have dropped some posts off in the middle of my property to install fencing. The farmer had to have seen both. I have a name and general location but am still in processing mode.

I want to limit chemical usage to a minimum; it’s frustrating that this has happened on that level, but for someone to assume it’s ok to farm my land is not OK either… I can only assume it’s been happening by permission from the adjacent landowner who has the other half of the field.

Any recommendations for approaching this with tact? My initial response was to fence the entire access area to the whole field (which I own) and add more signage. I’m frustrated. If it was an adjacent landowner it would be one thing, but it’s not… Do I report them to the police for trespassing and spraying poison on my field? Probably not but that’s where my mind began.

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Wow. I can see why you’re concerned. I’m not a lawyer but I can’t imagine this being legal, even by some stretch of common law and adverse possession.

I guess you could start by telling him you were surprised that he treated your field, and that it’s important to you that he understand that you have your own plans for the field and don’t want glyphospate or anything else put on it by anybody other than yourself. Then maybe thank him for his cooperation and get your fence put up right away.

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@disc4tw He definitely has no right to spray your property, but if the previous owners let him do it in past years then maybe he’s jut not aware that it sold to a new owner. When I bought my current property there was a row crop renter attached and I had to track him down to let him know I was the new owner. He was a nice guy and had no idea the previous owner had sold. We talked about what both of our expectations were and he still rents part of the property to this day. Maybe give this guy the benefit of the doubt for now, and if he tries to be difficult after you talk then definitely do what you gotta do.

I’d say a fence and survey markers so there’s no room for confusion, and maybe a trail cam to prove your case if it comes to that. Good luck!

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@disc4tw Oh and one more thing. Not sure if you just purchased that half field but if you did it might be worth checking with the previous owner if they had a verbal agreement with that farmer to let him spray and/or farm. Here in Iowa verbal ag agreements are binding and you have to let the farmer know by September that you won’t continue for the next spring. Even if the property sells the farmer still has the right to continue farming until that next September when you give them notice.

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Agree with Patrick and Mark, first contact the person spraying and meet with him to let him know your intentions and to try to understand his goals. This should be your first action to establish a mutual respect since both have rights. Then get your fence up, if he intends to continue chemical treatment try to determine if overspray will be your next concern! You may need more than a simple fence if prevailing wind does not favor your property
Dennis
Kent wa

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I’d talk to the sprayer/farmer and if possible,bring the neighbor(after talking to him),along,as a witness to the conversation and a person who saw the spraying.

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@thecityman has experience with that.

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The previous owner was an estate and I specifically asked at closing for all the information they had about the property. The owner passed away a couple of years ago and there is no agreement I was made aware of.

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You’re probably good then. He’s probably just gotten used to having access to the whole field.

I’m hopeful overspray would be limited. My property is west of the other half of the field and should be ok.

Well, the challenge is that I’m also getting the property surveyed. Additionally, I’m pretty sure my property extends all the way to the edge of a road culvert/trench and I own along the entire roadway. So if things don’t go well I have every right to fence off and eliminate access… The landowner owns the adjacent parcel and can access the back half from their property. We’ll see how things play out.

“Tread lightly but carry a big stick”

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@disc4tw Potential bad farmer aside, what are your plans for the field? Will it all become orchard?

My parents had their neighbor blacktop/pave part of their yard so they could park their own car on it instead of the street…

Ended up having the county involved and big ugly fight later, blacktop is gone and parents planted now 30ft Leland Cypress trees all along the property line beside that neighbor

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I’m fencing, planting pawpaw, apple, pear, blueberry, haskap, kiwi, and breeding persimmons. Probably a bunch of other stuff. 7+ acres is a lot more than the 1/8th I’m currently working with.

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Nice, that’s going to be fun. A lot of work, but fun!

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Typically, when you buy real estate you acquire the contracts associated with it. I’m no expert on the topic, but I’ve observed around here that when agricultural land trades hands, the prior tenant has a right to finish out the season they’ve already spent money on. Buying land isn’t like buying a car where you can do what you want instantly. Dittos buying a rental house. You can’t legally just boot the tenant out day one because it’s your house now.

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This is not a contract and there is no agreement I was made aware of, so it’s tough luck for the farmer. If it’s who I tracked down and researched, they own 300+ acres so not using my land isn’t going to make or break them. I’m going to try to reach out and be as cordial as one can be given they are trespassing and spraying on my property… I appreciate your input!

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