I was visiting with some Ellis County farmers the other day, and they were talking about having trouble with people trespassing on their planted fields. Typically, when we think of trespassing, we think of people coming onto your property after ignoring a sign or a fence. For a farmer with a cultivated field or a growing crop, no such fence or sign is needed. Generally speaking, The Penal Code says that the presence of that crop in the field is notice enough that crossing the field is trespassing.

The main point they were making wasn’t so much being on the property, but riding horses, ATV’s, or 4-wheel drive vehicles through the fields; especially after it rains. While that is obviously trespassing, it can also be Criminal Mischief. The economic loss to that farmer, that is the dollar value of the damaged crops, could take the simple citation for Criminal Trespass, and turn it into significant jail time for Criminal Mischief.

But the bottom line is this, if it’s not your property, stay off of it, it is just a matter of respect. And, if you want to gripe about the farmers telling me this, please don’t do it with your mouth full.