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February 20, 2009   Email to Friend 

Darryal Ray
(334) 613-4187
February 20, 2009

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- "Patience is a virtue, but it can also save lives."

That's some of the common-sense advice Dr. Jesse LaPrade of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System offers on a new Web page for "Farmer At Work," the statewide safety campaign launched by the Alabama Farmers Federation in cooperation with the Alabama Department of Public Safety and the Alabama Department of Transportation.

Part of the Federation's Web site at www.AlfaFarmers.org/programs/safety.phtml, the "Farmer At Work" page seeks to raise awareness of slow-moving farm vehicles on the road by offering tips for motorists and farmers. Alabama motorists are more likely to encounter slow-moving farm equipment on the roadways over the next several weeks as farmers begin another planting season. In 2007 collisions involving farm machinery resulted in six highway deaths in Alabama -- the most since 1999.

LaPrade, an Extension specialist at Auburn University whose duties include farm safety education, said many motorists do not know what the bright orange-and-red triangle on the back of farm machinery and other equipment means. The triangle, called a Slow-Moving Vehicle sign, means that the vehicle bearing that sign is incapable of speeds exceeding 25 mph.

The "Farmer At Work" campaign will feature radio and television public service announcements, newspaper and magazine advertising, promotional materials and print and Web coverage.

The public service announcements will feature Alabama farmers whose lives have been affected by on-road accidents and a farmer's wife who asks motorists to help bring her husband and sons home safely.

"Every farmer has a story," says Dan Rhyne of Benton, president of the Lowndes County Farmers Federation whose own stories of death, injuries and near misses were the impetus behind the campaign.

"There have been several accidents around the state involving farmers on the roadways, and we felt this was an opportunity to help keep our farmers safe and raise awareness among all motorists," said Federation Communications Director Jeff Helms. "We appreciate our leaders bringing this idea to our attention, and we're pleased to have the endorsement of the state agencies for this project."

For more tips, visit the "Farmer At Work" page at www.AlfaFarmers.org/programs/safety.phtml. For more about the campaign, read the story in the March issue of Neighbors magazine at www.alfafarmers.org/neighbors/neighborsStory.phtml?id=4543.

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