By Gene Hall
Safety—for farmers and their city neighbors—is our top concern as spring planting gets underway.
When it stops raining in Texas—and we all know it will—the huge planting machines of agriculture will start rolling. Our ever-expanding urban lifestyle gobbles up countryside, reaching into areas that were once very rural. Now, these roads are heavily traveled. That means we’ll see tractors and planters on the highways with us.
Almost without exception, our cities were settled over a century ago because food could be grown there. That means there is still a lot of agriculture near our towns, large and small. It’s often our best land for growing food. Sometimes, fields are connected only by highways and farmers must use them to get from field to field.
I hear farmers plea every year for patience and care when drivers encounter tractors and planters on the roads. All too often we hear of near misses. And tragic accidents.
Farm equipment is required to display the “slow moving vehicle” reflector emblems to increase visibility. So watch for those.
Be alert for farm vehicles on rural roads and main highways. Tractors have top speeds of around 20-25 miles per hour. What seems like a large gap closes quickly when you’re barreling down the road at 70 miles per hour.
Farmers and ranchers work hard to grow food for the rest of us. Remember: If you can’t see a farmer in the cab, then the farmer probably can’t see you.
Please slow down. Let’s all be safe this planting season.