THORNVILLE, Ohio - New farm equipment lighting requirements will take effect in Ohio Oct. 1.
Farmers who have multi-wheeled tractors are being required to display new lighting for traveling at night on streets or highways. In addition, all 2002 and later farm equipment are required to meet lighting and marking standards when operated on a road or highway.
The new law, passed last May, also requires that all farm equipment traveling on streets or highways display lighting from sunrise to sunset or in unfavorable weather conditions where visibility is limited to 1,000 feet. This is a change from the previous rule that required equipment to display lighting from a half-hour after sunset to a half-hour before sunrise. This change in the law takes effect immediately.
"There are a lot of people driving on rural roads that have very little contact with farm machinery," said Ohio State University Extension agent Jeff McCutcheon. "They are unable to pick out what they are seeing ahead of them, especially at night. Most farm equipment is wider than the road and the tires are black and people can't see those at night. It's a safety precaution." McCutcheon will discuss the new law at the Tri-County Agronomy Field Day on Sept. 6 at the Roger Kilbarger Farm in Thornville. McCutcheon will also demonstrate where the new lights should be positioned on a farmer's tractor.
A multi-wheeled tractor is one that is designed for drawing other vehicles or machinery and has two or more wheels on each rear axle. To meet the new requirements, the rear extremities of the tractor must be marked with a flashing amber light that is visible from the front and rear of the tractor. The light should be positioned 16 inches from the wheel, be between 3.3 and 12 feet above the ground, and flash 60 to 85 times per minute. In addition, the rear of the tractor must have an amber reflector that is visible from the front and a red reflector that is visible from the back.
Farmers who retrofit existing tractors with the new lighting equipment are eligible for an income tax credit of 50 percent of the cost. The cost, however, cannot exceed $1,000 ,and the tax credit is only valid if the materials are purchased and installed by Oct. 1, 2001.
The bill is available online at http://ohioacts.avv.com/. The details of the law are found in Section 4513.111 of the Ohio Revised Code.
In addition to farm equipment lighting demonstrations, the Tri-County Agronomy Field Day will include discussions on the potato leafhopper, late-season corn stresses, the new farm bill, and managing fertilizer or chemical spills on the farm or the highway.
The event runs from 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The event is free to the public and pre-registration is not required. A complimentary pork chop dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m., but participants must register by 4 p.m. to be ensured meal availability.
The OSU Extension offices, Soil and Water Conservation Districts and Natural Resources Conservation Services of Licking, Fairfield and Perry counties are the sponsors. For more information, contact the OSU Extension Licking County office at (740) 349-6900, the OSU Extension Fairfield County office at (740) 653-5419, the OSU Extension Perry County office at (740) 743-1602, or e-mail Howard Siegrist at firstname.lastname@example.org.