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Capitol Update: Helping the Harvest here in the 17th district
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It is harvest season here in the 17th Senate District. The soybeans on my farm were harvested last week. Many of my neighbors are working long hours to bring in their crops.

The weather has been great for combining, which means that we may have to follow some big machines on our local roads. But each time you are following a line of traffic behind one of our local farmers, just remember that seeing combines, following tractors and catching the scent of manure in the breeze means that our agricultural industry is flourishing. And this is good for all of us.

In a couple of weeks the harvest will be over and farm vehicles on our roads will be replaced by snow plows. In the meantime, however, please have patience with us.

As the harvest continues, the legislature also continues to work on several initiatives related to our agricultural industry. We are currently updating Act 15, which made several changes to the law related to Implements of Husbandry and Agricultural Commercial Motor Vehicles.

Wisconsin farms contribute 413,000 jobs and over $88 billion of economic value to our state. Agriculture is particularly important to driving economic growth in our corner of the state. That large economic impact depends heavily on the equipment used to cultivate and harvest fields. For many years agricultural equipment has been increasing in both size and weight. These increases pose a problem for our local roads and infrastructure.

In order to maintain roads and ensure safe transportation of agricultural goods, an update to the laws governing agricultural equipment was needed. The legislation primarily addressed issues of weight, length, height and width when operating and transporting farm machinery on Wisconsin roads.

There was also a significant effort to increase the lighting and marking of equipment on roads. Lighting and marking of equipment are valuable safety features when it comes to operating on public roads. Beginning Nov. 1, new regulations go in effect for operating wide equipment on our roads. Wide equipment is defined as any equipment that extends over the center line of a road. This farm equipment must have all required markings installed. This includes at least two amber flashing warning lamps, two yellow reflective strips, two red tail lamps, and a slow moving vehicle emblem.

With all the harvesting taking in place in Southwestern Wisconsin, now is the time to remind everyone of these important changes taking place. For further information regarding the new regulations operating on please visit

For more information and to connect with me, visit my website and subscribe to my weekly E-Update by sending an email to Do not hesitate to call 800-978-8008 if you have input, ideas or need assistance with any state-related matters.

- Sen. Howard Marklein represents Wisconsin's 17th Senate District. His column is published Mondays in the Times.