Planting season a time for extra road patience

Spring not only brings out leaves and blossoms on trees but also slow-moving farm equipment on area roads.

On the heels of Rural Roads Safety Week, the Chester-Delaware County Farm Bureau wants to remind area residents to exercise caution and wait for an appropriate opportunity to pass the vehicles safely.

The bureau explained in a press release that smaller farms often cannot afford the specialized equipment to cultivate and plant their fields. As a result, they rely on contract farmers who have the appropriate equipment and take it from one farm to another, often slowly.

According to PennDOT’s crash data, 100 crashes involved farm equipment in 2015, including 65 injuries and two fatalities, the release said.

Farmers are legally allowed to operate farm equipment on state roads, but they must display the slow-moving vehicle (SMV) emblem – an orange colored triangle with a red border – on the rear of all vehicles or equipment that travel at speeds of 25 mph or less, the release said.

“Just as major highways and bypasses allow traffic to keep flowing throughout and around urban centers, rural roads are the major and often times, the only connectors for agriculture and residents and those areas to interact with markets, businesses and opportunities,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said in the release.

Redding also reminded everyone of the importance of being aware and safe when travelling on rural roads and of the significance of agriculture to the whole state.

Peak times for farmers occur in the spring as farmers drill the 29,000 acres of corn, 15,000 acres of soybeans and 38,000 of forage crops produced in Chester County each year. Further farm operations are needed to apply crop protection chemicals as needed and harvest hay during the summer and corn and soybeans in the fall, the release said.

The Chester-Delaware County Farm Bureau is a voluntary organization that works to advance the interests of agriculture and rural communities by working with policy makers at state and federal levels. It serves 7,800 members and is affiliated with the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau Federation.



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