To the Editor:
It's hard to believe, but fall harvest has begun in earnest. It has been a solid year for crop growth around much of Minnesota, and now that we have entered the month of October most farmers have begun the combining process.
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank our farmers not only for doing their part to help feed the world, but to remind them to prioritize safety as their stretch of long field hours begins. Each year we hear about someone who is killed in a harvest-related accident, so now is the perfect time to remind farmers to use caution in the coming weeks.
One of the main issues for farmers is trying to overdo the field work. Combining does take a lot out of you and it's easy to get tired staring at crops all day, so it is important to take time for some breaks during harvest. For that same reason, it's important to do tractor maintenance in the morning when you're more alert. Also keep a suitable fire extinguisher accessible from the ground on each of your combines.
More farm vehicles are now sharing the roadways with other vehicles. Make sure you have slow moving vehicle emblems displayed on combines and other harvesting equipment, and check to make sure all of your lights and hitches are in working order.
Finally, when it comes to family members who will be helping out this season, familiarize them with all farm equipment and discuss when they should stop a task. Doing so could prevent an unwanted injury or equipment damage.
Farming is very rewarding but can also be very dangerous. I wish all of you a successful harvest this year; but most importantly, I wish you a safe harvest.
State Representative Rod Hamilton, Mountain Lake
Chairman, Minnesota House Agriculture Finance Committee