Learning where your food comes from and how it is sustainably grown is priceless knowledge. However, there are some need-to-know tips before heading out to wheat country.
Farmers are some of the busiest folks! Growing your food is their livelihood and passion but do not just show up and expect them to show you around. It is important to use caution and care around the timing of the seasons.
Do not drive, idle or park on tall, dry vegetation, this includes any grasses on the side of the road! The hot exhaust can ignite dry vegetation and can start a fire very quickly. If you have been invited to visit a farm operation, ask them where they would prefer you park, there is usually a designated preferred area for parking, but you may have to walk a little way.
Wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Long pants and close toed shoes are a necessity.
Do not go off on your own! Farms may have dangerous elements. Your host needs to know where you are at, always, equipment is large, people are easily able to be out of the line of sight.
Respect private property. Open fields do not mean open to the public. Please do not enter fields, remain on the sidelines. You would not want a stranger walking into your yard, fenced or not!
While you are on the road…
Farm equipment will be out on the road more often as farmers travel from field to field. Here are some tips to keep in mind that help to keep everyone safe out on the road:
- Give tractors and other equipment extra room.
- Do not pull out in front of farm equipment. Tractors may be towing heavy machinery, making stopping suddenly impossible.
- Expect farm equipment to travel at a much slower rate.
- Watch for signals like flashing lights or a wave and other ways a farmer or rancher may try to communicate with you. They have a higher vantage point and will often signal to you when it’s safe to pass.
- Recreation, such as riding a bicycle, stopping to take a photo, etc., should be done safely. Do not stop on blind corners. Trucks, tractors, and other equipment cannot stop suddenly. Avoid such activities during busy seasons when farmers are moving equipment and there is heavy truck traffic. Minimize potential conflicts and choose a time when you can safely enjoy the scenery.
Wildfire can start anywhere…be mindful of where you are and what you are doing.
- Fire is a constant and annual threat to Oregon’s wheat producers, causing extensive damage to crops, farm equipment, structures, critical infrastructure, and livelihoods.
- In 2018 major fires impacted the wheat farms and rangelands in eastern Oregon causing estimated losses to agriculture communities in excessive of $20M. These fires burned upward of 1 million acres. The damages to farming and agriculture extend beyond the immediate fire impacts and include sustained impacts from the loss of habitat, grazing land and vulnerabilities to soil erosion.