As springs turns into summer every farmer is busily doing what farmers do--farming. It’s the busiest time of the year as fields are plowed, crops harvested and tended. Of course the usual day-to-day chores also have to be completed in addition to the seasonal crop activity. It’s a busy time with lots of farm vehicles moving around.
Throughout the summer the Farm to Market road in front of our place is a parade of farm equipment. Tractors, trucks, and hay balers, oh my!
In our medium-size town it isn’t unusual to see a tractor and hay baler carefully rolling down Main Street. “Good grief, why?” you ask. Well, look at it this way, farm equipment breaks down and you certainly can’t pull a 10-12,000-pound hay baler behind the family car or even a big 4-wheel drive pick- up.
Most farmers can make many of their own repairs but once in a while the tractor is needed to pull a piece of equipment to the repair shop near town. And, while in town, you might need to drop by the hardware store for a bucket of bolts or a tube of grease. I’m so used to seeing a big tractor at a traffic light it doesn’t startle me, I just know there’s some hard working guy in that tractor who is now behind with his work and worried he won’t finish before dark.
It’s likely you will see farm equipment on the road during harvest time. Be alert on curving roads and hills as you travel the countryside. A big tractor or slow moving load of hay may be just a few yards ahead. The visibility issues of pre-dawn or sunset hours add another level of danger. Throw in cell phone usage and you have another huge risk factor to control.
Please be alert for your own safety and that of the farmer. Farm equipment moves slowly and you may be upon farm equipment before you realize it. Watch for the bright orange reflective safety triangles that indicate “slow moving vehicle.’ Please pass with extreme care, the farmer may not be aware you are behind him and may not hear you approaching.
This is heavy on my heart because of the number of close calls with road traffic of my own family and farmers I know. Harvest is an extremely busy and exhausting time. Please help keep it a safe time for all.
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