Tractor safety measures urged in Okanagan valley

Never before have so many people gone to town with muddy knees and dirt under their fingernails.

Dear Editor:

What an incredibly beautiful and productive valley we live in!

In a relatively short period of time each year,  we grow an amazing amount of food and ornamental plants in the Okanagan Valley.

The number and quality of backyard gardens in Summerland is increasing as more people nurture an appreciation for food production.

Never before have so many people gone to town with muddy knees and dirt under their fingernails.

Working in the soil with a garden fork makes us realize the effort it takes to grow food.

Gardening on a small scale helps us remember to value the people who farm for a living. When their neighbours are out gardening, golfing, boating and playing tennis farmers are often on their tractors mowing, spraying, harvesting and hauling.

Farming is a risky business, not just because of the uncertainties of markets and the unpredictability of weather, but because farm tractors are powerful and potentially dangerous machines.

I know too many farm families who have lost a loved one in a fatal tractor accident.  If you are the driver of a motor vehicle and there is a farm tractor sharing the public road with you, please be patient.

When a tractor pulls over to the side of the road to allow you to hurry past, the tractor risks driving onto the soft shoulder of the road and is in serious danger of a rollover.

In the event of a tractor rollover, a rollover protective structure (in farm jargon that is ROPS) can help save the  tractor driver.  A rollover protective structure may be a roll bar or it may be a cab structure.

I implore my farmer friends, use your ROPS.  If you cannot use ROPS because the tree branches are too dense, then please slow down and keep your load low.

If an accident happens and your tractor rolls over, ROPS and a seat belt may save your life. By the way, farm tractors are not amusement park rides. Please, don’t take a child on one.

Let’s be careful out there.

Jan Carlson

Summerland