The Planted Row: Look at the road, not your phone

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Farm Forum

When I was 14, I took a short-term job with a farmer who lived a few miles down the road from my house. Both of my parents worked, and they didn’t really have a way to get me to and from this job. So, since we lived on backroads, they let me drive an old farm truck to work and back. I had a learner’s permit, but no real driver’s license. So, strictly speaking, what I was doing was illegal. Still, my parents never thought any harm would come of it.

One day I was driving home from work, and as I was rounding the curve near my house, I began to turn the radio dial. This wasn’t a digital dial, so it really required finesse to tune into a station. I was trying to get better reception on a song I liked. When I looked up from the dial, I was in the middle of the road, and I was about to hit an oncoming car. With no time to do anything else, I swerved to the right and ran the truck into the telephone pole sitting in my front yard. I was lucky I was only going about 35 miles per hour at the time, and my head didn’t hit the steering wheel too hard.

I was also lucky that I only had an analog radio dial to distract me. If I’d had the digital wonders of a smartphone, giving me access to all of the internet and social media posts from all of my friends, I might not have looked up in time to see the oncoming car.

It’s easy to be distracted by a phone or tablet when autosteer is driving the tractor. When you get behind the wheel of a car or truck, it’s time to put the phone down and look at the road.

Harvest edition

Let me warn you right now. You won’t see Alan Guebert’s column in your next Farm Forum. That’s not because we’re discontinuing his column. His weekly column will stay right where it is.

No, the reason you won’t see Guebert’s column in our next edition is that on Tuesday, Aug. 4, we will publish our Harvest special edition. We publish two separate special editions every year: Spring and Harvest. This year, when we published the Spring edition, I got several phone calls from people who were upset that Guebert’s column was missing from the front page of the paper. Unfortunately, Guebert only writes one column each week, so we can’t include him in the Spring and Harvest editions. Don’t worry, though. His column will be right where it’s supposed to be in the next regular edition of the Farm Forum on Friday, Aug. 7. If you’d like an extra dose of his wit, he’ll be at the Alexander Mitchell Public Library in Aberdeen on Aug. 3, from 7-8 p.m. to read from his recent book, “The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey.”

We’re doing something different with the Harvest edition this year. We’re adding a section with information about four upcoming area farm shows and fairs: Farmfest in Redwood County, Minn., the Brown County Fair, in Aberdeen, S.D., Dakotafest near Mitchell, S.D., and the South Dakota State Fair in Huron, S.D. This content will appear in our G section, which will serve as a Fair pullout section. I hope you take the time to look through the section and see what these fairs have to offer.

Contest winner

This week’s Farm Forum 50th anniversary cash giveaway contest winner is Joey Hofer of Faulkton, S.D. Joey will receive a replica windmill and is eligible to win the $5,000 cash grand prize. Prizes are mailed at the end of each month.