I am not completely certain how this happened, as I am SURE it was spring just a few weeks ago, but…. It’s fall, y’all. I am hard core member of team summer with a beach problem (the problem being I don’t get to go there enough), but I have to admit there is something about fall that just speaks to me.
As some of you may know, I am originally from Graves County, and there’s no contest when it comes to favorite fall smell. It’s dark-fired tobacco for me, every time.
Fortunately, I travel through the Cadiz/Hopkinsville area often enough to get my fix every fall, in addition to driving with the windows down and breathing deeply when I visit my parents.
There’s so much more to fall, though, and one big thing on my mind this time of year is always the safety of our agriculture community. Farm safety is super important as we’re working around grain bins, livestock, and equipment, and it’s also important on the road. No farmer wants to drive a combine or a tractor pulling a grain cart down the road, but the fact remains that the road is the only way for many farmers to get from field to field.
It’s important to note that the “share the road” advice that so many of us give applies to EVERYONE.
It’s not always on the farmers who are driving heavy, difficult-to-turn equipment to pull over and let the passenger vehicles by. Sometimes there’s no safe place to do so, and honestly if a farmer pulled over every time a car got behind him or her, it would take forever to get to the next field. On the other side of that coin, it’s not reasonable for farmers to think that passenger vehicles should follow them for several miles at a time if there are safe places to pull over and let a long line of backed-up traffic pass.
I encourage everyone driving a passenger vehicle to just chill out a minute. If being behind a piece of farm equipment for a mile or two makes you late, well, you should have left earlier. There are always unpredictable lane closures and accidents on the roads and highways that could slow your commute, but if you’re in a rural area during the fall, you should expect some slow-moving vehicle traffic and plan accordingly. Honking your horn will NOT make the equipment go any faster, I promise.
And just where are all of those combines and grain carts going? To harvest the soybeans, of course! You know, I have been working for the Kentucky Soybean Board for a little over 10 years now, and the number of uses for soybeans and their components continues to boggle my mind. Sure, we know about food, feed and fuel, but concrete enhancers? Bio-based dust suppressant? Roof rejuvenator? Backing for artificial turf? Bar and chain oil for your chainsaw? Yes, yes, and yes! The United Soybean Board uses the tagline, “soy touches every life, every day,” and they’re not wrong.
Early last summer, we worked on a video called SOY Many Uses, and even though I have watched it far more times than is probably healthy, it’s exciting to me that there seems to be no limit to the things that soy can be used in as a drop-in replacement for petroleum. Goodyear tires, Skechers shoe treads, biosynthetic motor oil… the list really is endless. And U.S. soy – Kentucky soybeans – meets the criteria for that most favorite word in so many spaces… sustainability.
So, as you’re out and about this harvest season, don’t forget to share the road, whether you’re driving a combine or a minivan. Everyone wants to get home safely. And I encourage you to look around and see how many ways that soy touches YOUR life. Every day.
By Rae Wagoner