Harvest and road sign

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — it’s fall! The weather is becoming more crisp and cool, the days of summer are gone, and you’ve probably been seeing more farmers out on the roadways. If you haven’t, you should expect to see more slow-moving farm equipment over the next few weeks. Our farmers depend on the highways to grow and harvest food and fiber, and it’s critical that each of us does our part to ensure they make it home to their loved ones every night.

As much as I love the privacy and beauty the crops offer in the neighboring field and as much as I dread winter creeping in on us, watching fall harvest makes my soul happy. There is something about the roar of the combines, choppers, and tractors that makes me feel like all is well in the world. Harvest is beautiful- but it is hard for the farmers and the farm families. Long days and nights harvesting the very crops that will become the food, fuel, and fiber that you consume and use every single day is a lot of responsibility.  Harvest can make or break a family farm, so it should be no surprise to know that these are high-stress times.  High stress doesn’t have to be dangerous – and you can help. 

Keep your distance. It is important that drivers realize that the equipment used to harvest is big and heavy. It isn’t always easy to see around machinery and there are many blind spots. The closer you are, the less likely farmers are to see you. They can’t stop that equipment on a dime so keep your distance all the way around the farmer. You don’t want to hit them, and I can promise you, they don’t want to hit you.

Be observant.  Know your surroundings. If the farmer is approaching fields, there may be a good chance they need to turn. Don’t pass in those areas. Watch for hand signals from the farmer or turn signals and lights.  Farmers may use their hands to signal you that it is safe to pass or that they are turning. Also, the deer and wildlife are loving fall as well so their movement is unpredictable. Being alert can save a life.

Be kind.  With so much ugliness in the world these days, just be kind. Give the farmers a smile and a wave. They likely have been sitting in that cab for hours and even more likely haven’t seen their friends and families for more than a moment in days. If you’re feeling really generous, drop off some simple food like pizza, sandwiches, snacks, or just a drink. It’s the perfect time to feed the farmers who work so hard to feed us. In a world where you can be anything, be kind.

Be patient. Getting behind slow-moving equipment isn’t going to slow you down any more than a few minutes. Farmers will get out of your way as soon as there is a safe place to do so. Life doesn’t slow down for anyone, so take the time to jam to your favorite song, call your momma, or just enjoy the view.  Your time isn’t worth someone else’s life.

Here’s to hoping for a safe and prosperous harvest!

As part of our Protect the Harvest campaign, Ashtabula County Farm Bureau is offering free safety yard signs to Ashtabula County Farm Bureau members to display near their farms and farm fields.  Non-members can get signs for $8 per sign. Just call our office at 440-426-2195.

I'm eternally grateful for the support Ohio Farm Bureau scholarships provided in helping me turn my dreams into reality.
Bethany Starlin's avatar
Bethany Starlin

Hocking County Farm Bureau

Available scholarships
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
Matt Aultman's avatar
Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
With not growing up on a farm, I’d say I was a late bloomer to agriculture. I feel so fortunate that I found the agriculture industry. There are so many opportunities for growth.
Jenna Gregorich's avatar
Jenna Gregorich

Coshocton County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
Mandy Way's avatar
Mandy Way

Way Farms

Business Solutions
Farm Bureau involvement has taught me how to grow my professional and leadership experience outside of the workforce and how to do that in a community-centric way.
Jaclyn De Candio's avatar
Jaclyn De Candio

Clark County Farm Bureau

Young Ag Professionals program
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

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