HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
May 7, 2007, Herald Journal

Give courtesy to farmers

By JENNIFER GALLUS

When living in farm country, it should be no surprise to see an increased level of farm equipment traffic on the roads.

For everybody’s safety, slow down, back off, and employ some patience around this machinery.

Farmers do their best to avoid black top roads, and if you see them on the black top it’s because they have no other route to take.

Besides black top being hard on farm equipment tires, meaning the tread will wear faster, these type of roads host more vehicles at higher speeds than the preferred gravel route.

When approaching farm equipment on the road, keep in mind that obstacles such as mail boxes and sign posts are being closely watched by the farmer, in addition to oncoming traffic.

Depending upon the width of equipment, farmers will most likely be watching both behind them and in front of them, and will need to cross the center line occasionally to clear roadside structures without plowing them over.

Farmers are well aware that they are moving much slower than the speed limit, and aren’t out tooling around for a scenic drive.

They have a job to do, and a limited time frame in which to accomplish it.

They are in more of a time crunch than those who are impatiently following the slow moving equipment, and acting like fools by making gestures about the situation.

An increasing amount of vehicle versus farm equipment accidents have been occurring in areas like ours that have a growing number of housing developments in ag country.

In addition to running our own land, we rent land as far from our house as 20 miles away.

Last fall, just south of Montrose and almost adjacent to a piece of ground we rent, an accident happened involving a farmer’s son we know who was pulling a chisel plow.

As the tractor was attempting to turn into a driveway, a dump truck ran right into the back of him and overturned the tractor and plow.

A friend of mine who saw the overturned tractor called and asked if my husband was driving this machinery. My heart sank because he was indeed farming in the area that day, but the equipment described didn’t match ours. Still, the thought made me sick.

Luckily everyone was OK, but it was a scary reminder that anything can happen, no matter what mode of transportation used.

So please, the next time you approach farm equipment on the road, put your patience hat on, take a deep breath, and respect what they’re doing. We all owe those hard working people much more gratitude than they’re shown.

Spring planting season

Our corn ground is planted as of Tuesday. We’ll have a week of a breather before soybeans will go in the ground.

During the spring planting season, farmers are vulnerable to the weather and soil conditions. The going is good as long as the weather cooperates, but things can change as fast as the next rain that moves in.

Of course, farmers can get teased because they don’t want rain in order to get the crops in, so they get themselves all worked up about any possible chance of rain. They’ll run their bodies into the ground in an attempt to beat the rain.

Then, when all the field work is done, they start praying for rain. But only a certain amount, and in certain increments spread throughout the summer with more importance placed on rainfall during the pod stage for beans, but more evenly dispersed for corn.

Yes, I’m married to such a crop farmer who worries about circumstances beyond his control, but it’s in his blood – there’s no stopping it.

I believe the orders for rain to Mother Nature can get quite complicated.

Kid-isms

One day after school my 6-year-old said, “Kyle did eanie, meanie, minie, moe to see who is Sara’s best friend and I was the moe!!! That means I am the best friend!” He said this very excitedly (names of friends changed).