Indiana Agriculture Insider

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Extra caution, patience needed 
on rural roads during harvest 

Harvesting crops, hauling grain or transporting other agricultural products makes this a busy time of the year for rural Indiana. With harvest season still underway, motorists should expect to see more slow-moving farm equipment on roadways as farmers harvest crops from Indiana’s 14 million acres of farmland. That’s why we joined several state agencies to urge Hoosier motorists to be alert, slow down and share the road.


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, farm equipment vehicles (other than trucks) were involved in 87 fatal crashes across the nation in 2015. In addition, a survey conducted by the Census Bureau claims that while less than 20 percent of the U.S. population lives in rural areas, more than half of all traffic fatalities nationwide occurred in those parts.

Far too often these incidents could have been avoided if drivers just exercised a little caution, courtesy and common sense.

Be Alert

By state law, farm equipment must have the nationally designated slow-moving vehicle sign – a red triangle-shaped reflector – to warn oncoming drivers that their equipment is on the road. These vehicles often travel at speeds no higher than 25 mph. Most farmers will pull over when they are able to let you pass, but it may take time for them to get to a safe place to do so. Avoid tailgating, as some farm equipment might have to make sudden stops along the road.


Slow Down

It only takes five seconds for a motorist driving 55 mph to close a gap the length of a football field when approaching a tractor moving at 15 mph. Avoid distractions, such as eating and cell phone use that may take your focus away from the road and any farm vehicles that are traveling near you.

Share the Road

Farm equipment is wide, sometimes taking up most of the roadway, so be careful and slow down when passing. Do not pass if you are in a designated “No Passing Zone” or within 100 feet of any intersection, railroad grade crossing, bridge, elevation structure, or tunnel. If you must pass a slow-moving vehicle on the left, be sure that the vehicle is not planning a left turn. It may appear that the driver is pulling over for you to pass when it is actually preparing to turn. You will drive right into its path, endangering yourself and the farmer.

This important safety message cannot be shared or stressed enough this time of year, and by practicing these driving tips, we can ensure a safer harvest season for farmers and motorists alike.

For more information about harvest safety, please click here.

ISDA launches conservation 'one-stop'

Improving water quality and soil health continues to be a priority for farmers statewide, and while data has always been available to support this claim, it hasn’t been accessible in one, easily navigable location. To address this issue, ISDA, using information compiled by the Indiana Conservation Partnership, recently launched an online story map, a one-stop shop for Indiana’s conservation efforts.

Located on the ISDA website, the interactive conservation story map organizes information by Indiana’s 10 main river and lake basins, which are then broken down by watershed. Each basin includes sections on water quality and soil health that encompass everything from total acres of cover crops planted to sediments prevented from entering Indiana’s waterways.

Story map

For example, according to the story map, more than 300 million pounds of sediment was reduced last year in the West Fork White River Basin. That’s enough sediment to fill 1,518 freight cars, which, if placed end to end, would stretch 14 miles. This information and much more can found by exploring the story map’s various tabs.

In addition to historical and geographical information, the story map also showcases some of the voluntary conservation efforts currently taking place by the basin’s rural, urban and suburban residents, as well as organizations and initiatives operating locally. This might include landowners planting a filter strip, farmers building a two-stage ditch or a Soil Water Conservation District hosting a field day, just to name a few.

Information on where the Indiana Department of Environmental Management conducts water quality monitoring throughout the state is also available, and farmers and conservationists can find basin-specific resources, tools and programs listed under the education tab.

To access the online story map, click here


October 9
Offices closed - Columbus Day

October 19
Indiana State Fair Commission meeting - Indianapolis

October 25-29
National FFA Convention - Indianapolis


ISDA is accepting applications starting Oct. 1, 2017, for the livestock promotion and market development grants to foster growth within the Hoosier livestock industry. The livestock promotion and market development grants are open to non-profit organizations, commissions and associations with 501(c) status involving the following livestock species: cattle, swine, sheep, equine, goats, poultry, camelids, ostriches, cervidae, bison, aquaculture and rabbits.

The market development grant provides funding for value-added feasibility studies, research projects, market development or other projects that encourage the growth of business and industry related to livestock production, processing and/or distribution. Educational programs, livestock shows/exhibitions, and conventions or similar projects are eligible for livestock promotion funding. Both grants will reimburse up to 50 percent of the amount spent to conduct or support the projects, programs and events outlined in each of the grants.

Applications are available here and must be submitted electronically by Dec. 1, 2017.


New strategic plan to grow state’s agriculture industry

Positive Outlook for Indiana Agriculture


Taiwan trade team recognizes quality of Indiana crops

Drivers, watch out for slow-moving farm equipment

FFA state officers share farm-to-fork message

Indiana Lt. Governor visits Farm Progress Show

River-friendly farmers honored for stewardship of Indiana natural resources

Farmers recognized for completing Certified Livestock Producer program 


Indiana State Department of Agriculture 
One North Capitol Avenue, Suite 600 
Indianapolis, IN 46204
317.232.1362 FAX