Ruben Stringer
Special to the Record

The Lower Sabine Neches Soil and Water Conservation District would like to remind everyone that Sept. 20-26 is National Farm Safety and Health Week. The week is an annual promotion from the National Safety Council honoring the hard work, diligence and contributions of our nation’s farmers and ranchers. The 2009 event marks the 66th consecutive signing of a proclamation by a U.S. President beginning with Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944. This year’s theme is “Rural Roadway Safety: Alert, Aware, Alive.

One of the most hazardous industries in the United States is agriculture, many injuries occur to farmers and ranchers each day.

The general public becomes involved when roadway accidents occur. Moving agricultural machinery has many limitations.

Everyone must share our roadways. So farm safety week is not just for farmers anymore. On the road, equipment moves at a slow rate of speed. In rural areas, a trait called patience needs to be observed so everyone can go home safely at the end of the day.

Equipment is marked by a slow moving vehicle emblem (SMV). This is a triangular shaped emblem. It is a fluorescent orange emblem designated for daylight viewing bordered by red photo-reflective material for night time viewing. It is placed near the center of the rear of tractors or other machinery, two to 10 feet from the ground. It also indicates that the machinery moves no faster than 25 miles per hour.

Because of size, length and width, machinery may move to the right before it turns left. This movement could fool drivers.

All machinery that farmers operate should have rear view mirrors. This enables the operator an opportunity to view what is behind him. Also, when moving extra large equipment a pilot vehicle should be provided.

When walking or running on the side of the road that has no sidewalks, use the left side of the road. Seeing the traffic coming at you will enable you to avoid being struck by a careless driver.

The pace at which we operate is much faster than in the past.

Agriculture technology has developed at a rapid rate since the beginning of recorded history. This must happen to take care of the expanding population.

Many of today’s farmers started working in a much different situation. Horse drawn equipment was a way of life. Today, air conditioned equipment allows much more work to be accomplished. This is a must. Efficiency on the farm has become a key to survival. Also, increased production of farm products must continue as our demand for food, clothing and shelter increases.

Many things contribute to our well being. Safety is a vital part of anything we do and must be practiced. On the farm, in the home, on the highway or on the playground we can see many opportunities to improve safety standards. We can all contribute to this. A little effort goes a long way.