James Pinsky: Share the roads with the folks who grow our food

James Pinsky


Spring is here.

Birds chirp. Squirrels wear shades, and farmers are in the fields planting.

They’re also on our backroads, main roads and highways.

As such, we ought to all be a little more cautious and patient.

You see farmers have to get around, just like you and me. Sometimes this means they drive magnificent engineering marvels like tractors and combines down the same roads you and I commute. The machines are powerful; help keep us fed and massively expensive. They’re also slow. No, not slow like a teenager getting ready for school, I mean slooooooow. Like a one-legged sloth climbing Mt. Everest.

So, chances are all of us will get behind a farmer sooner or later. We’ll probably be in a rush to go somewhere that’s not important. Well, not as important as say, feeding the world. Our agriculture-inspired delay may cause us to frown, curse and even animate our hands toward these slow moving farmers who dare use public highways to move their machines so they can grow our food.

Sigh. Don’t be that person. And, if you are with that person, correct him on his manners and utter lack of thankfulness for one of the most honored, noble and most underappreciated professions in America.

You see, farmers bust their collective butts’ morning, noon and night, 365 days a year so we can eat. They don’t work so we can lounge at the beach, dance the night away at a nightclub or afford that new fancy sports car. Nope, they’re out there in the heat, rain, cold and dust, often away from their families and their own leisurely pleasures so we can simply stay alive.

As such, when farmers have to move along our roads, please don’t give them a hard time. In fact, take those few moments where they’ve slowed down our daily rat race to remember how fortunate we are to live in the United States, have an abundance of food and a dedicated population of farmers and other agriculture workers who farm, often for generations so we can be the strong, well-fed and independent country we are.

Farmers and our ability to create more than enough food is much more than a sustenance issue; it’s actually a strategic one. We don’t have to depend on another country that may not like our ways of life to feed our families. Nope, America has all the food we ever need. There’s security in that personally, regionally and nationally.

So yes, having enough farmers helps keep us free.

The bottom line is this: farmers use our roads.

They’re not a nuisance, but, at least as far as I am concerned, a blessing.

I hope all of us in the Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District can find a little kindness, patience and perspective on the roads this spring when we find ourselves “stuck” behind a farmer. We should never snarl at the folks who make sure our stomachs never growl.

After all, if you think your life is hard now, try living it on an empty stomach.

James Pinsky is the education and information coordinator for the Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District.  Contact him at 540.465.2424, ext. 104, or james.pinsky@lfswcd.org.  Visit us at www.lfswcd.org or follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/lfswcd