As harvest is in full swing in Kentucky, the Kentucky Soybean Board reminds motorists to share the road with farm equipment.
“We know that farm equipment is slow and takes up a lot of room on the road,” said Board Chairman Jed Clark of Sedalia. “Farmers don’t want to be on the road, we want to be in the field harvesting our crops. Unfortunately, sometimes we have to transport equipment from one field to the next, and we ask for your patience and cooperation during those times.”
Clark said that one of his fellow farmers, Jonathan Miller who farms near Island, Kentucky, got a lot of traction with a recent Facebook post that noted, “if you think it’s stressful meeting wide equipment, then try driving it.”
Clark agrees with that sentiment. “Of all the things we do while farming, being on the road with equipment is one of the most stressful for me.”
“Sharing the road goes both ways, and we remind our farmers to share the road, too,” he added. “Farmers try to be good neighbors. If I see a line of cars behind me, I’ll do my best to find a place that is safe for me to pull over and let them go around. I know that the people behind me have important places to be, and we are just trying to do our jobs, getting our crops harvested as safely and efficiently as we can.
“And really, it doesn’t matter if you are driving a combine or a mini-van, at the end of the day everyone just wants to get home safely.”
The Kentucky Soybean Board recommends these safety tips when driving around slow-moving machinery:
• Be mindful that it’s harvest season here in the Commonwealth, and keep an eye out for machinery.
• Be patient and remember that farmers are just doing their jobs.
• Loads on farm vehicles may be wider than other vehicles, which present unique conditions for other motorists.
• Know that farm equipment often travels in a caravan — combines are often accompanied by escort vehicles and trucks pulling header wagons or grain carts.
• The ability to turn farm equipment is different than turning a passenger vehicle. Equipment often needs more room to swing wide to turn into a field, so pay special attention to flashers and hand signals.
• Always pass on the left, and only when you have clear sight distance.
• Always wear your seat belt. It’s your best defense in any traffic crash.
• Keep your full attention on the road and put your cell phone down.
Clark said that farmers appreciate the cooperation of their fellow motorists, and that he and his fellow farmers are doing all they can to make sure that everyone arrives at their destination safely and on time.
For more information on soybean farming in Kentucky, visit www.kysoy.org.