The grape divide between two Grape Belt families

Posted at 7:43 PM, Oct 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-10 19:43:34-04

"The day that we were supposed to harvest he comes out with a backhoe and he starts digging the whole way down here so I can't turn," Roger Elwell said.  He has owned a small grape farm in Hanover Center for over 30 years.

It was yesterday that his neighbor, the Schumakers, were outside digging a trench on a disputed piece of land causing the grape divide. 

"You'd think that the farmers would let each other harvest no matter what the dispute is," Elwell said.

Robert Schumaker, who dug the about 500 foot trench alongside his father, said it wasn't his intention to stop them from harvesting.  Although, Elwell said he now can't get any equipment down the headroom to harvest about 70 rows of grapes.

"That was not what I wanted to do. I've tried every other venue to try and get this situation resolved. I've tried everything that I can possibly do," Schumaker said.  He added that digging a trench was the only thing he thought could make a statement to the Elwells that he believes his family owned the land.

Over the last five years, the two grape farmers went to civil court. After an appeal, the two still see very different sides.  

The Elwells believing it's still their land and they didn't provide enough documents to prove it. The Schumakers, though, believe it's rightfully theirs.

"They chose the path of having the civil trial, having it decided by judges. The judges decided it, gave us a decision and they're not accepting."

Elwell said this trench is going to hit him hard financially.  "It seems like it just never ends, it's very disheartening," he said.

As far as the feud goes--

"Unfortunately it's going to have to continue until the terms of the court order are met," Schumaker siad.

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