A little ironic, don't you think

May 10, 2010
Written by
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.

They were worried the farmer would needlessly delay them, and that their dinner would be cold. And that’s rather ironic, don’t you think?

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