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Safety a priority as planting begins

Lead Summary

Now that spring planting is here, many farmers and producers will be moving big equipment from fields to fields and down roads across southern Minnesota. With spring planting underway, it is also important to keep safety as a priority.
“One thing, and it is not just farmers, is for everyone to be aware on the roads,” said Minnesota Farm Bureau President Kevin Paap. “Kind of the important part is to recognize everyone was going all winter without road traffic. Now is the time when machinery is out there and moving. Slow down realizing that tractors and farm equipment moves a lot slower than regular motorists.”
Paap said it is also important to know your surroundings and understand that going down a highway this equipment is not just slower, but bigger. “Keep an eye out for turn signals,” he said. “Leave plenty of space between you and the farm equipment. It all boils down to being patient.”
From a safety perspective, traveling on a road would be the first thing to think about. It is also important to remember that anything can happen. Newer equipment features a wide variety of warning systems such as flashing lights, extremity markings and slow-moving vehicle signs. 
“Spring is not as long a season and doesn’t have to be as rushed as the fall season,” Paap said. “This time of year we’re not going to plant after dark. It is Basic Safety 101 – eat the right things, get plenty of rest and take breaks when you need to.”
When it comes to planting or applying products like herbicides or pesticides, Paap said it is important to read and understand products that you are using. It is also important to use gloves and safety glasses, Paap said.
Field preparation is much different than 20 years ago, Paap said. “Technology has changed a lot of things,” he said. “Some technology has taken the fatigue out of farming.”

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