New Jersey Farm Bureau News

Ag Matters Online

The following article was provided by American National Insurance Company.

As your operation begins to prosper, you may find that you’re no longer confined to just one location. Farmers are spending more time today moving equipment and machinery on public roads to various locations for many reasons including the planting, cultivating and harvesting of crops.

Whatever the reason for moving your equipment, traveling public roadways with your agricultural equipment requires extra care to ensure the safety of you and other motorists. Taking the time to consider some safety tips can help reduce your risk of loss.

Driving Your Equipment on Public Roads and Highways

When the distance you are traveling is shorter, it is often quicker and more appropriate to travel on the highway. However, for your safety and the safety of others, consider these tips:

Before You Drive

• Check your equipment’s tire pressure and inflate all tires to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure for traveling longer distances.

• If possible, only operate equipment on public roads during daylight hours.

• Adjust all your mirrors so that you can safely see behind you.

• Make sure you have installed reflective tape and Slow-Moving Vehicle (SMV) emblems on the equipment. Be sure these items are clean and easily visible.

• When driving machinery on a highway, display a red flag atop a pole that is approximately 12-14 feet high. This makes it easier for motorists traveling the highway to see your machinery when visibility is difficult, or even when your machine is hidden from view by a rise or curve in the highway.

• Be sure your machinery is equipped with an approved rollover protective structure and seat belts. This may help prevent the operator from being crushed or thrown out in the event the machine overturns or has a collision.

• Verify that all operating lights including head lights, flashers and any brake lights are in working order.

• When traveling on a roadway that has hills and/or curves that impair visibility, consider having someone follow you in a “trailer” vehicle with their flashers on. This will encourage others to maintain a safe distance behind your vehicle as well as prevent inattentive motorists from “catching” you unexpectedly.

While You Are on the Road

• Look both ways before safely entering the highway. Be aware of the time your machinery takes to accelerate, and the speeds of the motorists already traversing the highway.

• Be alert to the road conditions. Watch for any icy areas, pot holes, low clearances, or sudden drops on the shoulder.

• Be sure you are alert and listening for vehicles and pedestrians. You should not be fatigued or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

• Make sure you are traveling at safe speeds on the highway. Slow down while going around curves and while going up and down hills. Verify that your headlights, tail lights and hazard flashers are in operation while you are traveling on public highways.

• Use hand signals when you are slowing, stopping or turning to alert motorists of your intentions.

• If you begin to obstruct traffic, look for a safe place to pull off so others can pass. This will help ensure impatient motorists do not take unnecessary risks to get around you.

• Review your local and state laws and regulations before transporting or using your agricultural equipment on public highways. Taking the time to use practical safety measures such as these can reduce your chances of injury, damaging your agricultural equipment, or the downtime of your operations.

Hauling Your Equipment

Instead of driving your equipment over long distances, it may be more efficient and safer to transport your machinery by use of a trailer. Consider these tips when this is the option you choose:

• Haul your agricultural equipment on an approved flatbed trailer.

• Make sure all equipment has a parking brake engaged and locked.

• Install blocks or stops under each tire of your equipment for added protection.

• Be sure to safely tie down your equipment.

• Verify that you are obeying state laws and regulations, including height and width requirements.

• Ensure that your trailer and equipment have all necessary flags, lights and reflectors to warn any oncoming motorists and pedestrians.

Very concerning legislation regarding worker protection and heat stress is currently going through the New Jersey Legislature.   All NJFB members are encouraged to use one of the following methods to contact their legislators to ask them to OPPOSE these bills (S.2422, A.3521).  

You can call state Senator and Assembly members.  Phone numbers can be found here.

You can send your own personal email, and you can find your legislators’ email contact forms using this link.

If you prefer to use a pre-written email that NJFB has prepared for you, click here to use our Advocacy Action Center.

The following information may be helpful to you, as you prepare to contact your legislators:

NJFB_heat stress talking points

NJFB_Memo to Assembly Labor Committee 5-13-24 HEAT STRESS

NJFB_heat stress bill challenges

The first consideration of a bill (S2422/A3521) to establish an occupational heat stress standard was heard in the Senate Labor Committee on Monday this week. The Senate bill is sponsored by Sen. Joe Cryan (D-Union). The first group called to testify was NJ Farm Bureau, where newly appointed legislative coordinator Ashley Kerr with President Allen Carter in attendance announced NJFB’s opposition to the bill for its sheer impracticality, costs and industrial workplace-oriented standards that does not fit ag circumstances. Labor Committee member Sen. Paul Moriarty  immediately echoed those concerns, saying he had been contacted by local farmers in his district about the bill’s  impact to farmers. It was later agreed that the sponsor would meet with Farm Bureau representatives to review agriculture’s position. Chairman Joe Lagana commented that he hoped the sponsor “would work things through” with the farm sector.

Other groups weighed in pro and con after the NJFB testimony. Also opposed were the State Chamber of Commerce, NJ Business and Industry Association, National Federation of Independent Business and others. Opponents wondered how the heat stress restrictions would be managed by public employees like Corrections, road departments, law enforcement; the fines and penalties also drew strong objections. Groups in favor were labor
unions and worker advocacy groups. The bill eventually cleared the committee 4-0 and sent for “second reference” to the Senate Budget Committee.

Click here to read an NJFB-prepared a summary of the bill.

Earlier this week, House Ag Committee Chairman GT Thompson released a five-page outline of a 2024 Farm Bill and  announced a House Agriculture Committee markup date of May 23rd.  Click here to read.

The same day, Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow released a  summary of a farm bill titled, The Rural Prosperity and Food Security Act of 2024. Chairwoman Stabenow has not indicated a date for a markup.  Click here to read.

The NJFB Women’s Leadership Committee is looking to award a New Jersey Farm Bureau member for her outstanding achievements and efforts on the farm and within the agriculture industry.

The WLC mission is to develop public understanding of the value and need for agriculture in everyday living through education while empowering women to be strong, effective leaders and advocates in agriculture.

They are looking for the women in your community who are proud to be in the agricultural field be it on a tractor, milking a cow, or teaching a classroom.

Please nominate a worthy female Farm Bureau member to be the 2024 NJFB Woman of the Year.

2024 Woman of the Year Application

Last week New Jersey Farm Bureau forwarded a concise summary of the legal objections to the draft SPS standard for farmland preservation deeds to the State Board of Agriculture. The statement cites the frail legal justification for retroactively imposing regulatory requirements on existing preserved farm owners. It was co-signed by four of the leading attorneys who practice ag law in the state.

Click here to read the summary