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Harvest Sanity

October 13, 2016
by Dan Voigt , Emmetsburg News

It might seem late for some, early for others, but we can all agree that the harvest of 2016 is well underway. Area farmers began harvesting the fruits of their labors in the latter part of September and began hitting stride of late.

And then the rains came.

Well, let's back up a moment.

Actually, the rains have come quite a few times here since mid-September, and quite the rains we've seen. It's been somewhat interesting to experience a full deluge on a Tuesday that left anywhere from 1-5 inches of rain in the area, and then a couple of days later, another 1-3 inches in short order.

But then a few days of drying, and the combines hit the fields once again, just got a good start, parts all shined up, and it rained again. And of course, the forecast says there's a good chance of rain a couple of days this week, too.

We all know Mother Nature is fickle, but this appears to border on the sadistic, if you ask me. You know, kind of like when someone is reaching for the door handle to get in your car and you let the car creep forward, and then back up when the reach for the handle again - anyhow....

With the weather playing on the patience of our area farmers, sometimes, the aggravation factor risen much quicker than it should, and when this occurs in a stressful situation, simple mistakes can have serious consequences.

Thankfully, in our area, there have been few major harvesting incidents in recent memory. We've had a couple of pretty wild field fires in the past three or four years, driven by incredible winds, but thankfully, no individuals were injured in those incidents.

Likewise, there have been no major accidents on the roadways of the county during the harvest in recent memory as well. All too often, we hear news stories in other media of collisions between motor vehicles and farm implements when a vehicle comes up on a tractor towing grain wagons or perhaps a tillage implement, and the vehicle collides with the rear of the implement or wagons. Or, the vehicle attempts to pass the slow moving tractor, which is attempting to make a left-hand turn into a farm driveway or field access approach.

Growing up on a farm, I?saw things like this many times as I?would transport grain to the elevator in town from the family farm. Living a couple miles out of town on a paved road, it was a job I enjoyed, but took very seriously. But, whenever I?returned home, before making that left turn into the farm lane, I slowed, pulled over to the shoulder and tried to look back behind my wagons as well as I could.

One day after doing so, I began to turn when a car came flying beside me, hit the mailbox by the driveway, sending it flying into the ditch, and somehow managed to stay out of the ditch and kept on going. We never hit, but I'm betting someone had to change their undies when they got to their destination after that - and it wasn't me.

Perhaps the best thing to remember about this time of the year is that the motoring public needs to drive with just a bit more understanding, patience, and not be in such a hurry. Give the farmers their space, offer a little courtesy, and understand the pressure they are under.

Cooperation and common sense go a long, long way on the road, and driving defensively without distraction, and using seat belts will save lives - possibly even yours.



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