BOZEMAN, Montana—Agriculture continues to rank as one of the most dangerous sectors in this country. according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since 1944, the third week of September has been recognized as National Farm Safety and Health Week. This year’s dates are September 18-24, with the theme “Protect the Future of Agriculture.” 

Farm equipment and rural road safety take center stage of this year’s National Farm Safety and Health Week. “With a busy Fall season underway across the state, the probability of motor vehicles and farm equipment or even livestock sharing the road is inevitable. Courtesy is a key component to rural road safety. It’s critical that both farmers and motorists use patience and caution when they meet,” said Dana Jansen, director of the Montana Agricultural Safety Program. “It is not uncommon for machinery and implements to extend past the center or the road leaving very little room for oncoming traffic to safety navigate. Most farm equipment (and livestock) moves much slower than other roadway users. Accidents involving farm machinery and implements are five times as likely to result in a fatality.”

Jansen noted that farmers and ranchers should plan travel or moving of livestock to avoid high traffic times and travel during the day when possible. They should ensure all equipment is in good working order with adequate lighting and markers, use a Slow-Moving Vehicle emblem when appropriate and install reflective markers or marking tape on equipment edges.”

“In addition, it’s critical that farmers use turn or hand signals to indicate plans to turn and use extreme caution when making those turns,” said Jansen. “Consider the use of a pilot vehicle when moving machinery or livestock.”

She noted first and foremost that motorists should slow down and be patient. 

“Never pass farm equipment while in no-passing zones, curves or hills, and be aware that farm equipment may have to maneuver around obstacles or make wide turns so never attempt to pass until you are certain of the machine operator’s intent,” said Jansen. “Pass when you are able to do so safely to prevent traffic from becoming backed up. Be sure to reduce speed when you see equipment or livestock on a rural road; you will overtake them quickly and may not have time to respond safely. Keep a safe distance behind farm equipment – if you can’t see their mirrors, they can’t see you.” 

Learn more about rural road safety as well as other safe agricultural practices by tuning in to the daily FREE webinars hosted by the AgriSafe Network. To register and for more information on the webinars, visit

  • Monday, September 19, 2022 - Tractor Safety & Rural Roadway Safety
  • Tuesday, September 20, 2022 - Overall Farmer Health
  • Wednesday, September 21, 2022 - Safety & Health for Youth in Agriculture
  • Thursday, September 22, 2022 - Confined Spaces
  • Friday, September 23, 2022 - Safety & Health for Women in Agriculture

For more information regarding the Montana Ag Safety Program or task-specific safety visit or contact Dana Jansen at or (406) 850-9978.