North Dakota is the land of sunflowers and… oil refineries. Between 2010 and 2011 oil exports from North Dakota increased by 200 percent. (According tot he U.S. Census)
Oil has become a very big deal there.
We were there recently conducting a focus group with retired farmers, the issue of oil fracking was mentioned. Whether you agree with it or not, it is changing the face of agriculture, at least in North Dakota. After renting a car and taking a little side trip to the Peace Gardens, Shari (our education director) was amazed at the number of large rigs sharing the roads.
One older gentleman at the focus group said they have a farm that is divided by a two lane road. They raise cattle and can no longer safely move the livestock from one field to the other due to the number of semis using the road.
Now they have to load up the cattle in a trailer and drive across the road instead of herding them as they did in the past. The trucks make the 25 foot walk too dangerous for both the slow moving livestock and the farmer as well.
Other focus group members mentioned that they were concerned about their grandchildren being so close to the many large, fast moving rigs.
What has changed within the agriculture industry in your area that has created new hazards? More importantly, how do you stay ahead of it?