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Summer Safety Tips

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.

Wheat is the most widely used grain!

Did you know that at one time in our history, wheat was even used as money?

Wheat and other grains provide energy for our bodies and fiber for our digestive systems.

In Oregon, the primary type of wheat our farmers grow (soft white wheat) makes the best cakes, pastries, donuts, cookies, Middle Eastern flat breads, muffins and other baked goods. About 90% of Oregon wheat is exported overseas, much to Japan and other Asian countries for special foods like ramen noodles and steam breads.

Despite their popularity, meta-analyses demonstrate that low-carbohydrate diets are no more effective for weight loss than low-fat or balanced diets!

If you measure the importance of crops grown in the Pacific Northwest by the number of acres planted, then wheat is the top crop!

Quick Facts

  • It takes 2.3 bushels of wheat (138 pounds) to produce 100 pounds of white flour.
  • A bushel of wheat is approximately 60 pounds.
  • One bushel of wheat contains 1 million individual kernels.
  • A bushel of wheat makes about 45 boxes of wheat flake cereal!
  • A bushel of wheat yields 42 one-and-a-half pound commercial loaves of white bread OR about 90 one-pound loaves of whole wheat bread.
  • A bushel of wheat makes about 42 pounds of pasta or 210 servings of spaghetti.
  • There is approximately 16 ounces of flour in a one-and-a-half pound loaf of bread.
  • In 1880, it took 373 hours of labor to produce 100 acres of wheat. Today, it takes less than eight hours!
  • Wheat is the #1 export of the Port of Portland.
  • Wheat is grown in 42 states in the United States.
  • Wheat is grown on average in 30 of the 36 counties in Oregon.
  • Umatilla County produces 25 - 30% of the state’s wheat.
  • Approximately 90% of Oregon wheat is exported overseas.
  • Wheat is a member of the grass family that produces a dry, one-seeded fruit commonly called a kernel.
  • Wheat is the primary grain used in U.S. grain products — approximately three-quarters of all U.S. grain products are made from wheat flour.
  • Oregon produces primarily soft white wheat due to our region's climate.
  • A 'small' barge on the Columbia River can carry 85,000 bushels of wheat.
  • A 'larger' barge on the Columbia River can carry 125,000 bushels of wheat.

Additional Links & Resources

Home Baking Association “Providing tools and knowledge to perpetuate generations of home bakers”. Order ‘Baking with Friends: Recipes, Tips and Fun Facts’ is a beautifully illustrated children's’ book/cookbook combined and great for teaching kids to bake.

Wheat Foods CouncilRecipes, classroom resources, and get the latest science based information on wheat foods. Kernel of Wheat Flyer – A colored diagram showing the parts of a wheat kernel: the bran, germ and endosperm. Explains the difference between whole and enriched grain foods and their importance in a healthy diet. It features MyPlate information.

Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom – providing support for educators who desire to include agriculture in the his/her classroom for 3rd -4th grades.

MyPlate Kids’ pages and finding your LifeStage specific information

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