"Cane Families Care” sign campaign underway
"Cane Families Care" is the theme of a new sugarcane industry initiative aimed at promoting driver safety within the agricultural sector and the motoring public, said Frankie Sotile, a sugarcane farmer from Ascension Parish.
Sotile, chairman of the American Sugar Cane League’s (ASCL) public relations committee, said the ASCL designed two 18” x 24” aluminum signs with the message "Cane Families Care About Your Family – Please Drive Carefully.” The signs are mounted on cane trailers and carts.
"We want to encourage the public to drive carefully for the next three months because we’ll be harvesting our sugarcane crop,” Sotile said. "That means there will be a lot of activity involving large equipment going on in the fields and farm-to-market roads. Cane-hauling trucks and trailers will be on the road taking our crop to the mill so we’re asking everyone to keep an eye out for their farming neighbors.”
About 150 "Cane Families Care” signs were distributed to the state’s 11 sugar mills and farmers before the 2014 grinding season began. The signs are designed to be mounted on the back of a cane trailer or cart but can be displayed in an office window, a fence post or the side of a building.
"The signs aren’t just for farmers,” Sotile said. "Sugarcane has fed a lot of families over the years and the Cane Families Care signs are for anyone who has ever felt a kindred connection for south Louisiana’s sugar business and want to show their support.”
Sotile said the safety message is also meant for the employees of the sugarcane industry as well.
"We do everything we can to make sure our drivers are operating safely and observing all traffic laws,” he said. "We want every trip from the field to the mill to uneventful. What I mean by uneventful is no accidents in the field or on the road.”
Sotile said the green or yellow signs cost $25 and are available at the ASCL website (www.LaCane.org/publications) or by contacting the League office at 985-448-3707 or 800-883-2875 or email@example.com.
"At some point you’ll probably find yourself behind a cane truck on a winding bayou road hauling sugarcane to the mill,” Sotile said. "This is the time to be extra cautious.”
The ASCL also provided these driver tips to help ensure a safe trip on the road during sugarcane season:
Leave a few minutes early.
Slow down - be patient.
Report muddy conditions.
Look for harvest site road signs and make adjustments.
Keep a sharp eye out for slow-moving vehicles.
Monitor road conditions 10-15 seconds up the highway.
Early morning highway fog can and will limit visibility and daylight savings time will end Nov. 23.
Sotile also advised anyone observing unsafe driving conditions should call the Louisiana State Police at *LSP (*577) if necessary. A State Trooper will be dispatched to make sure motorists are driving safely and road conditions corrected, he said.
"The sugarcane industry has been very successful in Louisiana for 219 years,” Sotile said. "The industry provides for 16,000 jobs and a $2.7 billion economic impact on our state. Sugarcane is a big part of who we are and we want everyone to be careful on the roads this harvest.”
For more information on Louisiana’s sugarcane industry, visit website www.LaCane.org, or the League’s social media under "Louisiana Sugarcane” on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.