Farmers and those living in and traveling through rural Iowa are urged to stay safe this harvest season. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey issued that reminder as part of National Farm Safety and Health Week, which was September 16-22. However, every week is farm safety week in terms of what you need to be aware of while working on farms or driving in rural areas, he points out.
"Due to the drought conditions across Iowa harvest got into full swing a couple of weeks sooner than normal. Folks working on the farm and those traveling through rural Iowa need to be aware and keep safety in mind," he notes. "It has been a stressful year for everyone in agriculture, but being sure to take the necessary time and think safety throughout harvest will help make sure the year doesn't take a tragic turn."
Tips for farmers include using the slow moving vehicle emblem on all appropriate tractors and equipment and making sure the signs are clean, in good shape and visible. Also, always be aware of and avoid flowing grain suffocation hazards while unloading bins and wagons. Retrofitting older tractors with a rollover protective structure or ROP, is another important safety measure.
Farmers, rural residents, travelers encouraged to stay safe this harvest season
Harvest season is also a time when drivers traveling through rural Iowa need to be alert to potentially slow moving equipment on the roadways. Be prepared to take a little more time if necessary, to get where you're going, because of slow-moving vehicles.
The Iowa Department of Transportation has a video entitled "Rural Roadway Crashes--They're Preventable" that has more information on how to safely travel Iowa's rural roads. It is available on the department's website.