Oneida County Kicks Off ‘Share the Road’ Farm Safety Initiative
Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. and Sheriff Robert Maciol today kicked off the county’s “Share the Road” farm safety initiative that will post approximately 100 road signs to warn motorists of farm equipment travel in areas of high traffic and history of farm vehicle accidents.
“Agriculture is a major part of the identity of Oneida County,” Picente said. “We depend on it for so many things from putting food on our tables to driving our economy. We owe a great deal of gratitude to our farmers and it is critical that we make their safety and livelihood a top priority. Everyone should be aware of the areas where they are working and pay the proper respect to their vehicles and equipment when traveling our roadways.”
“With so many people moving into the rural parts of our county, it’s important to remind motorists that they're sharing the roadways daily with our farmers and their equipment,” Maciol said. “We have an obligation to do all we can to keep our roadways as safe as possible.”
The “Share the Road” farm safety initiative is a partnership between the county, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County (CCE) and the Oneida County Farm Bureau. The road signs were designed by the Oneida County Department of Planning, purchased by CCE and the Farm Bureau and will be installed by the Oneida County Department of Public Works. The cost to implement the initiative is approximately $3,000.
Sign locations were chosen based six specific criteria:
- Being on county-owned roads
- Recommendations by CCE, the Farm Bureau, the Farmland Protection Board and the Sheriff’s Office.
- Analysis of highly-trafficked county roads.
- Targeted large concentrations of agriculture.
- Analysis of traffic accident data involving farm equipment over the past three years.
- Even geographic distribution between municipalities.
Approximately 70 signs will be installed beginning this month in targeted areas within Augusta, Ava, Bridgewater, Camden, Deerfield, Florence, Floyd, Kirkland, Lee, Marcy, Marshall, New Hartford, Paris, Remsen, Rome, Sangerfield, Stueben, Trenton, Verona, Vienna, Western, Westmoreland and Whitestown. More are expected to be posted in near the future and requests for additional locations will be accepted from municipal governments. Local municipalities can fill out an online application to request signs for their roadways here.
"Safety is a top priority for everyone sharing the road, famers and motorists alike,” said CCE Executive Director Mary Beth McEwen. “These signs are a great reminder for all of us to slow down and be aware that we are sharing the roads with farm vehicles that are often traveling at slow speeds. We all need to be patient, pass carefully and follow the rules of the road. We are fortunate to live in Oneida County, an ag-friendly community, where people value and respect agriculture. These signs are a great way to highlight that, and to help us all to remember to be alert and avoid what could be a dangerous situation for everyone involved. I want to thank County Executive Picente, Sheriff Maciol and the Farm Bureau for partnering with us on this endeavor.”
“It is once again an honor to partner with our friends, County Executive Anthony Picente and Sherriff Rob Maciol, two individuals with an unwavering commitment to support the farmers of Oneida County,” said John Collins, President of the Oneida County Farm Bureau. “It is more important than ever with the changes to today's modern farm equipment that we encourage our fellow county residents to be more vigilant than ever when driving our rural roads, especially as we are in the midst of harvest season. We appreciate the opportunity to partner with the county and Cornell Cooperative Extension to work on this project to support our farmers.”
A map of the sign locations can be found here.
(L-R) County Executive Picente; Sheriff Maciol; Marty Broccoli, Economic Development Specialist CCE; John Collins, President Oneida County Farm Bureau and Ben Simons, local farmer and President Oneida County Association of Towns.