We could drop a blog post with a bunch of colorful language, gushing about the changing of the seasons, the leaves falling and harvest being right around the corner. The picture to the right would include the undeniable symbol of the season, the ubiquitous pumpkin, maybe surrounded by some dried corn stalks. It would give the readers a warm feeling that brings back memories of frolicking in the fallen leaves while feeling a slight nip in the air. And don’t forget about the obligatory, sarcastic reference to pumpkin spice flavoring. As a blog set in 2017 in the middle of October, it would be completely void of credibility without it. As midwesterners, we understand what the autumn season is about much more than limited edition flavors and raking leaves, autumn is about the harvest. Harvest around here is about moving crops from the fields to the tables of America and that means an abundance of massive agricultural equipment.The lumbering farm equipment clogging up the roads may seem like a nuisance, but in reality it is our own harvest ritual.

Harvest Rituals

Many cultures around the world have harvest rituals, a time when superstitions are called up to ensure a successful crop. The ancient Aztecs used to rip the hearts out of their human sacrifices in order to ensure a bountiful harvest. The Celts had Samhain, a festival that marked the end of harvest and eventually became one of the most successful commercial holidays of the year, Halloween. It kind of makes one wonder what the ancient Celtic warriors would have thought of some of our current traditions. The people of West Africa hold a huge harvest festival every year and it has become one of the largest in the country. These are just a few of the ways that people have come together to celebrate the harvest. In Iowa, however, we participate in what can be called the “harvest parade”. To participate in the harvest parade, one must be in their vehicle and ideally, be late to wherever they are going. The traveller will then take a route that is guaranteed to get them to their destination much quicker. With all of these contributing factors, the driver will encounter a harvest parade in full swing, in the form of a massive tractor cruising along at a brisk 14 miles per hour, blocking all lanes of traffic.

Understanding Farm Machinery On The Road

If, in fact, you find yourself in a tractor jam the best thing you can do is stay calm; of course that is easier said than done for most of us. Becoming stuck behind a piece of farm machinery can be extremely frustrating, particularly when you are late, or otherwise in a hurry to get somewhere. You may go through all of the stages of being stuck behind a tractor: disbelief, anger, desperation, and finally, acceptance. Dealing with the emotions that are flowing through you can be an exercise in self control, but take a moment to collect your thoughts and take a few deep breaths. Use the time to embrace the chance to slow down and let yourself take a break from the fast pace of everyday life. It is important to remember that heavy farm equipment is completely legal to be driven on public roads, which is why those orange triangles are mounted to the rear. Those orange triangles are known as SMV, or Slow Moving Vehicle, signs. Farm equipment by nature is extremely slow and has nothing to do with the operator not going fast enough, chances are the farmer has the throttle completely smashed to the floor trying to get out of the way.

Take A Deep Breath

Every year in Iowa, there are accidents involving slow moving farm machinery and automobiles. At LOF-Xpress™ we would like to remind our customers to be much more aware and present behind the wheel this autumn — the safety and lives of our  farmers depend on it.. Also, consider  a stop in to LOF-Xpress™, at our Ames or Ankeny location, for your no hassle, faster-than-a-combine-on-the-highway oil change. During this year’s harvest season, farmers will be working hard to provide Iowa with food and fuel.  Being vigilant when driving on rural roads will help protect everyone. So, here’s to a safe and successful harvest.