As fall arrives in our area, we are greeted with the familiar changing colors of the leaves, the cool autumn air and signs of the harvest. However, as local farmers begin to harvest their crops, you will notice a difference on our roads as farmers begin to transport their crops to market.
During the 2017 legislative session, lawmakers truly agreed and finally passed legislation allowing farmers to operate their machinery on state highways at night for agricultural purposes. According to Senate Bill 8, farmers can operate their machinery from dusk to dawn on state highways as long as their machinery is equipped with the safety lighting required by law. The change in state law is intended to give farmers more of an opportunity to harvest their crops while doing so in a safe and efficient manner. As you see your neighbors working in their fields and harvesting their crops, slow down and drive safe. Stay alert when traveling through farm areas and please be patient when you see slow-moving farm vehicles on the road. Please remember, collisions commonly occur when a driver tries to pass a left-turning farm vehicle. A tractor may seem to be pulling to the right side of the road to let a vehicle pass, but instead they are preparing to make a wide left turn.
Agriculture is our state’s No.1 industry, with a more than $88 billion impact on our state and employing more than 370,000 people. While this change to state law might be a hindrance to your evening commute, it is intended to benefit our farmers and give them another opportunity to safely and efficiently harvest their crops.
As always, I encourage my constituents to contact me throughout the year with comments, questions or suggestions by calling my office at (573) 751-5713. To find more information about the bills I sponsor, visit www.senate.mo.gov/brown. Thank you for reading this and for your participation in state government.