Columbiana farm says their sales are down 50% since East Palestine train derailment

Published: Mar. 3, 2023 at 9:09 PM EST
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COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WOIO) - A Columbiana farm is feeling the fallout from the toxic train derailment in East Palestine.

“I mean it’s rocked our community,” said Steve Montgomery, Executive Director of Lamppost Farm. “The train derailment has caused everybody to wonder you know what’s the outcomes and nobody knows for sure what will happen down the road.”

Lamppost Farm is located in Columbiana, which is about 8 miles from ground zero.

“Thankfully we’re upwind and upstream from the derailment which is good for us, and I think it puts me at ease as far as the safety of our product,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery said for the past 15 years they’ve been working to teach others about health and wellness through agriculture. He said their animals are all fine and he believes their produce and meat are safe.

“I just talked to a friend that I was gonna buy cattle from who has cattle about 3 and a half miles from the derailment site and he’s canceling butcher dates out of fear of not wanting to produce provide a product for his customers and I mean that’s a ripple effect all around,” Montgomery explained. “I can’t buy his cattle from him now because of that. We won’t be able to produce that for our customers.”

Their business has taken a major hit. Montgomery said their sales have dropped 50% over the past few weeks.

“When we get hit like this it hurts and we find ourselves in a hole,” he admitted. “I had a call from somebody in Florida asking can I buy product or meat or whatever you grow from Ohio so it’s a national question about the viability of what we’re trying to do.”

The ironic part is all of their current inventory was processed before the train derailment, so Montgomery said he knows without a doubt that everything they have now is perfectly safe.

“What happened to us and our neighbors is tragic yes and there are a lot of people really struggling but we’re a community, a strong community and that’s important to keep remembering,” he said.

Lamppost Farm is working to raise enough money so they can regularly test the water and soil on their property to make sure their food is safe.

“I want people that are questioning to be put at ease,” Montgomery said.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture and state agricultural experts will meet with area farmers next week to address their concerns about the upcoming planting season.

Right now ODA said they believe crops planted in East Palestine soil are safe.

Norfolk Southern is also developing a soil sampling plan for residential and agricultural areas. The plan will then have to be approved by the EPA.

ODA has not released a time or date for next week’s meeting with farmers yet but we’ll keep you updated on 19 News once they do.