A few months ago, I had mentioned that the Stephenson County Farm Bureau Foundation was soliciting applications for our first round of Roots and Shoots grants. I am excited to announce that the foundation has awarded three worthy organizations the honor of being our 2020 Roots and Shoots Grant recipients.
Those who were chosen had applied requesting funds along with an explanation as to how their businesses/organizations provided employment and agriculture related opportunities to youth in our county. The businesses/organizations that were chosen include the Freeport High School Student Garden, Stephenson County Fair Association and Stateline Solar. Be sure to check out our Facebook and website at stephensoncfb.org to view pictures from this grant program.
Rural road safety tips: With harvest quickly approaching, please be on the lookout for farmers moving equipment from one field to another. When traveling country roads, remain alert and aware of slow-moving vehicles and be prepared to stop quickly.
During planting and harvest seasons, motorists will encounter more large, slow-moving vehicles on the road as well as vehicles and equipment parked on the side of the road. Slow down anytime you are going around curves or up hills. Quickly approaching a piece of farm machinery increases your likelihood of getting into an accident. Give yourself plenty of space by slowing down and being prepared. Also, be aware that farm machinery can enter a public road from a field or driveway, so keep your eyes alert.
Learn to recognize the SMV emblem; it alerts you that you are following a slow-moving vehicle, one that typically travels at less than 30 mph. It is a red-orange fluorescent triangle at its center, surrounded by a highly reflective red border. This sign is common on rural roads and drivers must heed its warning. When you see the SMV emblem – SLOW DOWN! Farm tractors generally move at top speeds of 15 to 30 mph. When approaching from the rear, a car traveling at normal speed can overtake a slow-moving vehicle very quickly. Watch for SMV emblems and be patient.
The driver will pull over to let you pass as soon as it is safe to do so. Pass only in a legal passing zone. When driving farm equipment and semis, the bulky equipment and the sizable load can easily block part of the farmer’s view, making it hard to see approaching vehicles, so it is your responsibility to slow down. It is important to remember that if you do not see the driver, then the driver cannot see you. When in doubt, assume the driver does not see you. Many farmers haul their grain using semis. When a semi tractor-trailer is full of grain, it takes them longer to stop.
Do not pull out in front of a moving semi. Also, do not follow farm equipment or semis too closely, as you want to see what is ahead (e.g. debris and other cars). Sometimes, farm equipment will take up more than one lane. These vehicles also make big wide turns. When they are pulling to the side of the road, do not assume they are pulling over to allow you to pass; they may just be preparing to turn. Watch for them to acknowledge your presence and signal their turn. Pay close attention to the turn signals, especially before passing.
Tips on passing farm machinery: Check to be sure that machinery is not turning left. Look for left turn lights or hand signals. If the machinery slows and pulls toward the right side of the road, the operator is likely preparing to make a wide left turn. Likewise, sometimes to make a right turn with wide equipment, the driver must fade to the left.
Look for roadside obstacles such as mailboxes, bridges, or road signs that may cause the machinery to move to the center of the road. Fading to the left does not mean the farmer wants you to pass on the right.
Be sure there is adequate distance for you to safely pass, and make sure the road is wide enough for your vehicle and the farm equipment.
Only pass where it is legal. Do not pass if there is a solid yellow center line. Furthermore, do not pass near an intersection, railroad tracks, tunnels or bridges. These areas can be particularly dangerous.
Nut and candy orders now open: Back by popular demand, we will be hosting a Terri Lynn Nut and Candy sale. Orders are due to the Farm Bureau office by Oct. 16 and will be ready for pickup from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Nov. 18 and again from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Nov. 19. Products for sale include pecans, cashews, mixed nuts, pistachios, almonds, pecan, peanuts and much more. To place your order, stop by the office or call 815-232-3186.
Room rentals: Are you looking for somewhere to host your next family get-together? The Stephenson County Farm Bureau has several meeting rooms available for rentals. Room rates begin at $70. Farm Bureau members also receive a $10 to $20 discount on room rentals. To inquire about room availability or room rental costs call 815-232-3186. Rentals are subject to local health department guidelines.
Victoria Hansen is manager of the Stephenson County Farm Bureau
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