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Farming Near People, Urban Areas Changes How You Operate

Farming Near People, Urban Areas Changes How You Operate
The urban environment comes to one Indiana farm

Marlon Corwin farms land near New Palestine that his wife's family homesteaded in 1848. Located in southeastern Hancock County, sometimes it seems like the city has come to him. Once sparsely populated, he now estimates his township has up to 10,000 residents.

One change was the loss of the ag and FFA program at New Palestine High School. He still remembers learning and competing in contests from the late Bill Davis who taught there many years. The program was phased out nearly 30 years ago, even though new programs have sprung up in truly urban areas, like Star Academy at Tech High School and the new ag and FFA program at Beech Grove High School on the southeast side of Indianapolis.

Plenty of neighbors: Merlon Corwin was there first, and nobody stops him form farming or raising hogs. However, he contends with lots of traffic when he moves equipment on local roads.

"The biggest change for us is moving equipment on the road," he says. "Many people around here don't understand farming and they get impatient."

He also farms land in Rush County, and moves equipment on the road. The reaction there compared to the reaction of drivers in his home neighborhood is like night and day, he says. People in Rush County, still mostly rural, expect farm equipment to be on the road in busy seasons and react accordingly. That's not the case in an urbanizing area around New Palestine, he notes.

Related: 4 Types of 'Other Drivers': Who's Sharing the Road with Farm Equipment?

The spring season is a good time to remember rules of the road so that you don't exasperate urban neighbors any more than necessary. Remember that a slow moving vehicle sign is still required on the back of the last vehicle. There are restrictions on height of the sign from the ground and on how high it can be.

Also attempt to pull off and let traffic pass when you get the opportunity and cars are backing up. But as Corwin knows, it's not always easy to find a spot to pull off on a busy road, especially if there isn't a wide berm. People need to learn to be patient, even if it's not in their nature to do so.

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