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Farmer: 'Don't pick the sunflowers'

A farmer in Lycoming County has had to put up signs asking people to stop helping themselves to his crops.

LYCOMING COUNTY, Pa. — A sunflower patch off Route 87 in Lycoming County looks like the perfect place to stop and snap a picture but for Josh Leidhecker those sunflowers are a way of life.

"We planted this field about 45 days ago and so it was barren for quite some time. This is a thirty-acre field in northern Lycoming County," said Leidhecker of the Susquehanna Mills Company.

Leidhecker is the president of Susquehanna Mills Company, he says people have been stopping and picking the sunflowers and it's hurting his business.

"As much as I would love to be able to do that, this is actually our business and we supply income for five families, so it is pretty important that people try to respect and don't take our livelihood away from us."

Alaska Gonzalez, an employee with the company, is posting signs that ask people to stop picking the flowers.

"One thing that we don't want happening is for people to be picking our sunflowers because pretty much if you pick one, that's a lot of oil we are missing out on," said Gonzalez.

There is around 60,000 pounds of sunflowers in the patch and it will all be harvested to create 3,800 gallons of cooking oil.

"This particular oil is great for sauteing, it is a high-temperature oil, it is absolutely delicious."

Leidhecker says he doesn't own the land but told Newswatch 16 that the owners do not mind people taking pictures of the field.

"So I spoke with them and they are perfectly OK with people taking pictures from the road and we would prefer people stay in their cars if they could."

Leidhecker did say that if you want to take pictures in the sunflower field, you do need permission from the landowners in Upper Fairfield Township.

He just asks that you don't take any of the flowers home with you.