Joy rider destroys soybean crop at Carson City farm

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 11:29 am on Monday, October 01, 2012

The Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an apparent joy ride crime in which someone drove through a soybean field in Carson City around 3 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 9. — Courtesy photo

CARSON CITY — A historic Carson City farm sustained major damage after someone took a joy ride and attempted to create crop circles in the soybeans.

The Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the crime, which occurred around 3 a.m., Sunday, Sept. 9.

The joy rider entered 40 acres of soybeans from Boyer Road. The driver apparently had trouble exiting the field and had to back up to make it through the ditch and back onto the road. A neighbor found a vehicle muffler full of soybeans in front of his house on Boyer Road. The joy rider apparently then traveled to the end of Boyer Road at Blackmer Road near the Carson City Regional Correctional Facility and entered the field on the west side of Blackmer Road.

Carl Todd purchased the west 40 acres to farm soybeans in 1947. He purchased the east 40 acres to farm corn in 1966. Todd, who celebrated his 100th birthday on Aug. 29, has resided at Masonic Pathways in Alma since 2003. His daughter, Sara Todd, has lived on the farm since he moved.

“The income from the farm helps pay for his care at Masonic,” said Sara Todd. “When they drove through the field, they didn’t think about stealing from a 100-year-old man.”

Carl Todd

Carl Todd was a baker, as well as a farmer. He grew up in Middleton and started working at the Middleton Bakery for his parents at age 9. He started driving at age 12 and sometimes skipped school to deliver baked goods to stores in the area. He graduated from Middleton High School in 1930, worked at a bakery in St. Louis for a year and then went to work for his grandfather, G.W. Todd, and great-uncle, Paul H. Todd, in Carson City in 1931. He retired from Todd’s Bakery in Carson City in 1978.

According to Sara Todd, the farm does not have crop insurance. She hasn’t told her father about the incident yet, as she doesn’t want him to worry.

“It just makes me so angry,” she said. “This is somebody’s living.”

Montcalm County Sheriff’s Lt. Steve Russell said there are currently no suspects and the case is tentatively closed.

“We do take several of these types of complaints, especially this time of year when it is most noticeable results in greater loss to the farmer,” Russell said. “Every now and then we make an arrest, but I would say most go unsolved. With the price of most crops up, especially corn and hay, these can result in a pretty substantial loss to these farmers.”

Although the exact amount of damages to the Carson City farm have not yet been determined, soybeans were selling for $15.37 per bushel as of Thursday’s market, according to Michigan State University Extension Field Crops Educator Fred Springborn in Stanton. Forty acres of soybeans typically yield about 55 bushels per acre. Based on the most recent market price, that would total approximately $845.35 per acre.

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