This year I had the opportunity to participate in the annual Stay Safe, Take a Break program offered through the Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce and run by its Ag Committee.
We started the day with 180 bags loaded up with all kinds of snacks, safety items, and donations from area businesses. Six teams gathered at the Chamber building for a quick lunch of Mabe’s Pizza then hit the road.
The Northeast quadrant of the county was in rotation to receive the bags this year. We spent about 4 hours cruising the gravel roads looking for harvesters out in the fields. Rachel drove the truck while I kept an eye out for the tell-tale cloud of dust rising from the hills along State Line and North Bear Roads.
We gave a bag to a farmer who may have been on the Minnesota side, but that’s just being a good neighbor and it never hurts to do a little PR for Iowa. There was a county road worker out cutting brush on the roadside and we figured he could use a snack and a break too.
Ultimately the twisting hills and valleys around Highlandville proved to be more suitable for fishing than farming so we hit the blacktop on Big Canoe Road to see who we could find. We stopped at every truck, semi, or combine we came across, handing out bags along the way while reminding folks to “stay safe and take a break!”
This program is in its 14th year so many people recognized us driving to their fields with the bright orange goody bags. There were smiles all around as we chatted with farmers who were working hard to finish up harvesting before any more rain.
Winneshiek County has over 2,000 active farmers and agriculture is a cornerstone of our economy. I enjoyed the chance to show support for the growers in our area who keep the county vibrant and strong.
Everyone can work to stay safe by slowing down and watching for farm vehicles on the roads during this harvest season!