As I look out of the window over the fields of soybeans and corn towards the East, I see Mother Nature has been busy with her paint brush. It always amazes me how fast the colors change, and how all of sudden we need that extra sweatshirt or sweater in the truck with us at all times. I have enjoyed the summer spending time with my family at a variety of different fairs and livestock shows, but I have to admit Fall is my favorite time of the year.
There is something very rewarding when harvest season starts. While my own family doesn’t have a lot of land that is harvested (all of our land is in pastures for the beef and sheep), we do have a reasonable sized garden. It is very satisfying and rewarding when you start harvesting and preserving your hard work to enjoy throughout the winter months. While I was growing up there were more days than not in the late summer and fall that were spent harvesting the garden in the morning and then the rest of the day in the kitchen blanching, pickling and preserving all that you just picked. While there were times in my youth, I was not impressed with these duties, I do have to say that looking back at it, there are some of my fondest memories.
As we progress through Fall, there is something that I would like to remind everyone of. Whether you are harvesting a small garden or 1000s of acres, please remember to be safe out there. In 1944, President Roosevelt proclaimed the third week of September as National Farm Safety and Health Week. This year’s them was “Protecting What Matters”. I think that we all can agree that what matters most to all of us is the safety and health of those that we love.
While the whole week was to promote all aspects of safety on the farm, I would like to remind everyone of just a few ways to stay safe when traveling on the roads, not only in Kewaunee County but wherever your travels may take you.
Tips for Farmers:
1. Please try to use less traveled roads when possible. Avoid the high traffic times on the busy roads.
2. Double check your SMV (slow moving vehicle) emblems and lights are working and are visible and reflective
3. Check for passing vehicles when making left turns, especially into fields and make sure that you use hand or turn signals to indicate turning
4. If road and shoulder conditions are safe, pull over temporarily to allow traffic to pass when a lot of vehicles are behind you
5. When possible and practical, have an escort precede and/or follow you when moving equipment, especially on busy roads
Tips for Motorist:
1. Reduce speed when you see farm equipment on rural roads
2. Brake for orange and red reflective triangles that warn of slow moving vehicles
3. Keep a safe distance behind farm equipment so farmers can see you. Remember if you can’t see the mirrors, the driver can’t see you!
4. Yield to wide equipment on narrow roads
5. When passing farm equipment, be cautious of equipment turning left, they may pull right first for wide turns.
6. Only pass farm equipment when conditions are safe and there is no on-coming traffic
Here is wishing you all a Safe and Happy Harvest. Please be careful out there!