Safety is priority as harvest begins

In normal years, area farmers would be well into the job of harvesting their crops by now. They’d be in the fields from dawn to dusk, stretching themselves and their equipment to the limit, and generally pushing the envelope in a profession that is one of the most dangerous around.

But this is not a normal year.

Because of an extremely wet spring, planting was delayed (or had to be re-done at least once). As a result, the corn and soybean crops are not yet ready for harvest. Though some fields are approaching maturity, others – particularly double-crop beans – aren’t anywhere close. It’s now a waiting game to see if we get some warm weather to bring the beans to maturity before the first frost and to dry the corn to acceptable moisture levels.

But sometime soon, the waiting game will be over and the harvest will begin. That’s when the warnings of Ag Safety Week come into play.

And with a compressed harvest season, farmers will be under even more stress than normal to get the crops out of the field and into the bins.

In today’s Leader-Union, we’ve included a special section that outlines the dangers of the harvest season – and the practices that can mitigate those dangers. We hope those engaged in agriculture take time to remember those dangers and do all they can to ensure a safe harvest.

For those of us who aren’t directly involved in farming, we also have a role to play in this busy season. As we drive the roads of our county, be extra careful around slow-moving vehicles – grain trucks, tractors and combines. They, too, have a right to use the roadways to move from field to field or to transport grain to area elevators.

Together, we can make this a safe and rewarding season for our farmers.

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