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Farmers and Motorists Must Share the Road and Be Safe

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Farmers and Motorists Must Share the Road and Be Safe

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A scene described in Craig Morgan’s song “International Harvester” is being played out across the Midwest on rural roads:

3 miles of cars layin on their horns
Fallin on deaf ears of corn

Lined up behind me like a big parade
Off late to work, road raged jerks

Shoutin obscene words, flippin me the bird

With planting season getting started, farm equipment can be found on local, county, and state highways almost any time of the day and night.

Sixty percent of traffic fatalities occur on rural roads, so it is time for farmers and drivers to be careful.  Mark Seib, a soybean farmer from Poseyville, IN, asks drivers to be patient when they come upon farm equipment on the road, “We don’t want to be on the road any longer than we need to be, to move from field to field. If we pay attention to drivers and they pay attention to us, we should be able to make this a much less hazardous season.”

With 5.1 million acres of soybeans to plant in Indiana, farmers face a daunting task to get the crop in with Mother Nature being less than  cooperative.  Seib warns drivers to slow down when approaching farm equipment on the road, “Top speed on some of this equipment is 30 mph, and drivers are traveling in cars at 50 to 60 mph. That is a big speed adjustment that has to be made.”  Seib warns that farm equipment may be on the road at any time of day as farmers are working long hours to get the crop planted, “Our window of opportunity is very narrow during planting season because of changing weather patterns, so that’s why you see farmers out working late at night.” He warns motorists, “Be especially careful when approaching a tractor at night because we’re slower moving than highway traffic.” In addition, he warns that farm equipment may be wider than anticipated or may be towing other pieces of equipment behind it, “Stay as far away from the equipment as you can; this might mean you have to pull off the road to let the equipment pass.”

Seib, who is also a director on the United Soybean Board, urges farmers to also be aware of what is going on around them and be courteous to other drivers, “As farmers, we need to respect drivers; and, if we see we have a long line of cars behind us, we need to find a place to pull over and let traffic get around us.” He said both parties have a responsibility to be safe and courteous —  a sentiment also conveyed in Morgan’s song, “So just smile and wave and tip your hat to the man up on the tractor.”