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22 May 2016 - Here’s Your Annual Reminder

I am generally a very positive person in my outlook on life, what I am doing and what the world is doing. Yet there are times when I wonder if I should just give up and be quiet, because as I look back over the past decades and the subjects we have discussed on Samuelson Sez, I see very little change in how people think or act.

After all that farmers and ranchers have done in social media, in meetings and round-table discussions and in the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, do consumers really know more about the real agriculture in this country and what it takes to put food on their table, clothes on their back, a roof over their head and now, energy in their tank? Based on the e-mails & calls I get at my Chicago office from city folks, I really wonder if we have made any progress.

“Ethanol is bad for my car and bad for the environment”, “GMO foods are dangerous to my health and my children’s health and cause cancer”, “Farmers and ranchers constantly mistreat their animals and the world would be a much better place if we were all vegetarians like me.” These are examples of what I hear from consumers that make me wonder if I am just talking to the wall..

There is another issue that is timely right now and involves both urban and farm communities. A reader recently said - “It’s planting season and I haven’t heard your annual safety sermon dealing with driving on rural roads. Thanks for the reminder and here it comes!

The Slow Moving Vehicle emblem is the triangle-shaped sign with a red center and a fluorescent orange border that is easily visible day and night and is intended to be used just one way; to warn drivers they are approaching a piece of equipment that is probably going 50 miles an hour slower than they are in their automobile. SMV is legal signage in many states and the language is very clear on its intended use. It should only be attached to the rear of slow-moving equipment; it should never be attached to stationary objects. That means it should not be on mail-box posts, it should not be on gates, and it should not be used as a driveway marker. SMV says Slow Moving Vehicle, not stationary objects that do not move; is that so difficult to understand?

What really disturbs me are farmers and ranchers who attach the Slow Moving Vehicle emblem to their mailbox or to mark a driveway. When you use the SMV emblem on a stationary object, you are taking away the true meaning of something that can save your life and the lives of city drivers on unfamiliar roads. There is a variety of other fluorescent items available to mark those driveways and mailboxes.

Finally, to my city friends…farmers and ranchers do have a legal right to move equipment on the highway, and if you tangle with a four-wheel-drive tractor pulling a 36-row planter, you will lose. So slow down and enjoy the scenery.
To my farmer friends, be a good neighbor and when you have the opportunity, pull off to the side and let the line of traffic safely pass. That way, everybody wins.

Oh, I won’t give up on my sermons, I will just keep preaching to the wall. PLEASE be careful out there!

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.