By Dave Harrison
May 10, 2010 — Have you ever been driving farm equipment on a county highway and had passing motorists angrily beep their horns in displeasure at being slowed down?
May 10, 2010 — I was tootling home the other day, along a fairly busy county
highway in southwestern Ontario, when traffic slowed behind a large piece of
farm equipment. Passing is not easy on this road during “rush hour” periods, because
of traffic volumes. After a few kilometres and about several minutes or so,
vehicles finally began to pass the farmer, one or two at a time. And here's the point of this story – a couple of them laid
on their horns to indicate their displeasure with being kept to a crawl for
what they viewed as too long a period of time.
Is this indicative of how some “urban” commuters view “rural”
industry, that they have no business on the roads? Do they believe farm
vehicles should be kept only on back roads?
Taking large equipment on the road is no picnic for the
farmer. It’s not something they want to do every day, every week or every
month. These vehicles perform admirably in the field or orchard, but they’re
hardly autobahn material.
In 14 years of making this commute, I’ve been slowed to a
crawl on only a half-dozen occasions, tops. It’s not a big deal. This is an
agricultural region. It’s who we are. And farm vehicles are going to be on the
roads from time to time.
The fact is we’re too many generations removed from the farm.
Our grandparents would understand why farm vehicles from time to time have to
use major roads. They would never have blared their horns in frustration at slow moving equipment.
Most politicians show little respect for the farm community.
They choose to over-regulate and under-fund, if they pay any
attention at all. They, too, are a couple of generations removed from the land.
Rather than respecting the farmer who was moving equipment
that evening – probably at the end of a very long day that began at dawn, or
earlier – those few frustrated motorists in our impromptu convoy indicated their
ignorance of the industry.
were worried the farmer would needlessly delay them, and that their dinner
would be cold. And that’s rather ironic, don’t you think?