Local News

Over-eager photographers costing sunflower farmers big time

SPOKANE, Wash. - It's hard to find a more perfect backdrop for your summer photos with sunflower fields across Deer Park in bloom. But with over-eager photographers taking too much liberty when it comes to walking through the fields, it's costing farmers big time.
"When they start blooming like this the public goes crazy," said Gary Gibson, a local farmer. " The problem is we have a lot of people damaging the crops, stealing the heads and last year we had someone drive through the field."
He says he is glad people appreciate the crops, and has no problem with photographers taking their photos alongside the fields, but not in them.
"Just today I saw a lady with her child on top of a ladder taking photos," Gibson said. "They were 50-100 feet into the fields."
He says when people walk into the fields they push over the flowers and because the stems are brittle, they fall to the ground and aren't able to be harvested for bird seed.
With each flower worth several dollars and with crowds of 10-20 people each hour, he says for local farmers the damage adds up.
"This is a livelihood, we aren't planting these for the public," he said.
He intends to put no trespassing signs alongside the fields, and asks for people to respect them.