Farming Matters

By Thomas Marten
Stark County Farm bureau Manager

Summer is slowly fading away. Officially we have several more days left, but the signs of change are here. The temperature is becoming more seasonable and I suspect that we’ll see combines moving all across the county.

Before I delve into the importance of watching out for farm equipment, I do have a general point to make for safety on the roads. As you’re fully aware, rural Illinois is a grid of squares where township roads often border a given section of a township. This means a great deal of roads are aligned east-west. Now before I’m called “Captain Obvious”, I do have a stellar point to make.

With the autumnal equinox rapidly approaching, the sun will appear to set due west on the horizon. This novelty of our planet’s tilt has consequences for motorists. When driving west in the late afternoon, it can be blinding. Beyond avoiding those times of day, motorists should turn on their headlights whether driving east or west. This will help oncoming cars see you.

The other peril looming on our roads here in Stark County comes with harvest. Slow moving vehicles can be frustrating for any motorist. I, myself, am prone to use a few choice words when stuck behind a slow car in a no passing zone. Remember to keep a level head around farm machinery. They aren’t trying to irritate you by going slow. This is high stress time for famer and motorist alike so let’s take a deep breath and commit to being safe.

One last point on the stress of this season. 2016 is set to see exceptional yields, but especially pathetic prices for that commodity. According to Tanner Ehmke with CoBank, producer incomes have fallen 50% since 2013, debt-to-income ratios are rising and the drop in income is the largest since the Great Depression. Something to chew on until next week’s paper.

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