spring planting

We didn’t have much of a winter, but like most of you, I have been craving sunshine and warm days. We even were lucky enough to have a pretty dry early spring — and then the last couple weeks hit and everything has been wet and cold. I was ahead of the game and washed our barn clothes and hung them out only to realize that was the sole reason the cold and rain moved back into Ohio.

Some farmers in the area were able to get in the fields in early April during that small window of beautiful warm and dry weather, BEFORE I washed and put away our Carhartts and ruined our good luck. The next several days are warm and sunny and that means farmers are going to be out in full force, and that means if you are out on the roads, you need to be very aware of your surroundings.

Farmers depend on our highways while they grow our food and fiber, especially during the busy farming season, like spring planting and summer / fall harvest. That season seems, at least, in northeastern Ohio to just be getting shorter and shorter, or maybe later and later. Soon, our farmers will be out on the highways starting spring planting 2023. In the push to get crops in, it’s often a challenge for our farmers to slow down and we all know that drivers on the roads are often rushed and distracted, and those two situations are dangerous.

Tips for farmers

If you are a farmer, hopefully during the rainy season you double checked that all your lights are working before planting starts, and check periodically throughout the planting season. Ideally, check your lights each time you take the tractor and equipment out on the highway. Make sure all farm equipment has a slow moving vehicle (SMV) sign. SMV signs must be displayed on all farm equipment designed to travel at speeds of 25 mph or less on the road. Any other use is illegal. Also be sure if UTVs are being used to go from your farm to your fields, that a slow moving vehicle sign is attached to the back.

Use other safety alerts such as:

• Lights and reflectors;

• Turn or hand signals;

• Reflector tape (usually white, silver, or red);

• Lights from sunup to sundown; and

• An escort vehicle that may display a flashing or warning lights.

Take care of yourself the best you can. We know you have short windows to get everything done and that leads to long days and nights, but eating, staying hydrated and as rested as possible, and keeping your mind as strong as your body is just as important to your farm, family and yourself as getting those crops in the ground.

While out on the roads, it is up to each of you to ensure that accidents are avoided and slowing down and staying alert are critical to that.

Reminders for motorists

Farm equipment is huge and heavy, and we don’t have the luxury of taking up only one lane all the time. There are exemptions for farm equipment from width and length requirements. It’s important for motorists to exercise patience and caution when coming up on farm equipment on the highways. Accidents occur when motorists hurry around farm vehicles, resulting in injury or death. Large farm equipment needs extra space when making turns, so when you see a farmer pulling over to the side of the road, slow down and even come to a stop. They may not be letting you pass, they may be trying to make a left turn.

Also, sometimes in order to avoid hitting guardrails or mailboxes, the farmer has to move into the center of the lanes. Most farmers will pull off or signal for you to pass when they find available safe spaces. Slow down when you see farm equipment, avoid passing on double lines, curves, hill crests, or if there are several vehicles in line behind the farm equipment. Traffic laws still are in place for motorists in a personal vehicle on the roads. Watch for hand signals, turn signals, or other signs from the driver and equipment in case they are preparing to turn. Look for nearby driveways and field entrances that they may be using before making the decision to pass, and then when you do go for it, do it slowly and with caution and be sure to give the equipment plenty of space when you merge back in front of them.

Above all else, be patient, be kind and enjoy the view from behind. Those farmers have families waiting on them at home, too. Nothing you are doing or nowhere you are going is as important as someone’s life.

Submitted by Mandy Orahood, an Ohio Farm Bureau Organization Director serving Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake and Trumbull Counties. Mandy can be reached by email


OFBF Mission: Working together for Ohio farmers to advance agriculture and strengthen our communities.

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Bethany Starlin

Hocking County Farm Bureau

Available scholarships
I appreciate the benefit of having a strong voice in my corner. The extras that are included in membership are wonderful, but I'm a member because of the positive impact to my local and state agricultural communities.
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Ernie Welch

Van Wert County Farm Bureau

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Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

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Jaclyn De Candio

Clark County Farm Bureau

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Jenna Gregorich

Coshocton County Farm Bureau

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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.
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Mandy Way

Way Farms

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Knowing that horticulture is under the agriculture umbrella and having Farm Bureau supporting horticulture like it does the rest of ag is very important.
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Jared Hughes

Groovy Plants Ranch

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Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

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Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

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