You probably have noticed already that harvest time is upon us.
This means the roads will contain more slow moving vehicles, the roadsides will become vacant and many farmers and farm families will be putting in long hard hours of work.
As the hustle and bustle of harvest is occurring, remember that there is no room for forgetting the importance of safety or of sleep. Thus, farmers need to remember to take frequent breaks and get enough sleep before returning to work the next day.
When traveling down the road, remember to be a good citizen.
Farmers should make sure their equipment has working lights (front, rear, and turn signals) and they have a slow moving vehicle (SMV) sign posted where everyone can see it.
Any vehicle that operates at less than 25 miles per hour is required to have SMV signs on it.
If you come up on a vehicle that has a SMV sign (red triangle with orange edges), keep a safe distance between you and the farm equipment so you are able to stop quickly if the need arises.
Farmers should be reminded to make sure their SMV signs are in good condition, can easily be seen, and replace them if they are damaged.
When traveling on the road, farmers should try to remember to turn on their hazard lights to help notify other drivers they are there. If possible, farmers should have a family member drive in front of them and behind them with their flashers on to help keep all motorists safe.
With all the hustle and bustle going on, it is easy for farmers to get distracted and not pay attention to the small things. However, by not paying attention, a tragedy can occur.
A few things farmers need to pay attention to before starting up the tractor or combine include ensuring that all safety locks and safety equipment are present.
Realize that safety locks are there for a reason and it isn't to slow you down.
Additionally, make sure your rollover protective structures are on your tractors and that all equipment shields are in place.
If you break down and have to remove the shield to make the repair, remember to put it back in place before starting the machine.
Not all farm accidents occur when operating or working on equipment. Accidents can occur when a farmer is working in or around a grain bin. In instances like that, a farmer can become entrapped by the flowing grain.
Therefore, it is important that when working with flowing grain you have someone else with you who can contact emergency personnel if needed.
Similarly, children and teenagers should not be allowed in grain bins where they are exposed to that dangerous atmosphere. Grain entrapment is a serious issue that has been publicized heavily in the state in recent years and it is important that individuals take precautions to prevent this from happening.
Farming is a dangerous occupation but one that is needed to help support the world. By having patience, farmers and non-farming individuals can help improve the safety of our roads this time of year.
Additionally, farmers need to ensure someone is aware of where they are working and what they are doing, that they have a first aid kit with them at all times and stop working when they are tired so they can help improve their chances of experiencing a pleasant harvest season.
As always, if you have any questions or would like information on any agriculture, horticulture or natural resource topic, then please contact your local Purdue Extension Office at 448-9041 in Clay County or 812-829-5020 in Owen County or reach me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Upcoming opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:
* Oct. 8 -- Owen County Extension Board Annual Dinner, Owen County Fairgrounds, 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $6,
* Oct. 8 -- Midwest Hair Sheep Sale, 1 p.m., Washington County Fairgrounds, Salem, Ind.,
* Oct. 17 -- Final master Naturalist Class Session, 6-9 p.m., Clay County Extension Office,
* Oct. 17 -- Owen County 4-H Awards Night, Owen County Fairgrounds, and
* Oct. 20 -- Calico Extension Homemaker's Club Meeting.