While traveling last fall through a rural area, every several miles along the highway, there were temporary signs that said, "Harvest in Progress, Watch for Slow Moving Vehicles." What a good reminder for our non-farming neighbors that there are farms in the area and what to expect.
While community signs are a nice touch, several farms have created a blog or Facebook page to communicate about what they are doing on their farm. Spring planting will soon be upon many farms. Why not use this type of communication to keep your local community informed of day-to-day busy season activities?
Trucks with a farm logo are another way to communicate about your farm being in the area. With all the trucks and other big equipment on the road, a farm logo on your trucks helps set you apart from everyone else.
During the growing season we'll see seed plots in highly visible areas promoting which seed is planted. Non-farm people often think that the land that has a test plot with a row of seed signs is farmed or even owned by that seed company. Rather than only promoting the seed company, how about signage around your farm or fields - something to the effect of "Proudly Grown by Smith Farm"?
Ultimately, outward communication with our neighbors is about helping non-farm people to recognize how visible farms are right around them. Many people drive around their communities and don't fully understand the impact that agriculture has on them. We know that the farmer's dollar turns over about seven times in his local community, so there is significant economic impact and most of us raise crops with the idea of feeding others.
These are both very important aspects of agriculture's impact. However, many farmers will say that their neighbors likely don't fully understand what a modern farm does. It's up to us to help raise the visibility of our farms, and help the community to understand how we fit in to the community, what we do, and why it's important to them.
Many farmers agree that their neighbors may not know what they do on their farm, so why not over-communicate what activities you're doing on your farm that might impact others?