GROVETOWN, Ga. (WJBF)- A popular Columbia County corn maze took a heavy blow from tropical storm Hermine last Friday. Steed’s Dairy farm off Wrightsboro Road started the maze about five years ago, and the owner uses it to teach kids about agriculture and raise money for local charities.
Jim Steed’s family has owned the land since 1934.
“We’re trying to hold onto it,” he said. The Steed family used to sell their cows’ milk, but Jim says regulations nowadays make it very difficult for his small farm to compete. Now they’re looking at other ways to make money, like the corn maze.
“Farming’s not very lucrative nowadays. Especially small farms. The bigger farms…they’re getting bigger and bigger every year,” he said. “So the smaller farms kind of have to find extra income that they can do, and this is one way to do it.”
He spends weeks hacking out elaborate designs in the five acre corn field every fall in preparation for school field trips and tours on the weekends.
“A lot of days in the sun, and a lot of stepping off and making sure every line’s straight and every letter’s correct,” Steed said.
He’s also started using the mazes to raise money for local charities. This year it’s the Ronald McDonald House.
“We try to do local stuff, and help out our local community because the local community has done so much for us,” he said. “We try to give back a little bit.”
This year, the design was completed just before tropical storm Hermine hit last Friday.
“When you put so much effort into it and you see the final product, and then the next day the wind comes in and just tears it all to pieces…It’s something that really just tears you up,” he said.
It’s also a blow to their business.
“The main attraction is the corn maze,” he said. “And with the storm coming in…when it blew the corn maze down, it kind of was a big let down for me because, you know, it’s the headliner.”
He says anywhere from 14,000 to 20,000 people go through the maze on the weekends each Fall, and he’s determined to re-open it this year– even if it means starting from scratch.
“The maze is not going to be beautiful, but it’s going to be okay. And so that’s what our goal is,” he said. “So we’re working really hard to get it that way.”
Steed says he’s confident the new maze will be ready by their original opening date, September 24.