Saturday, August 19, 2017

If you're going to farm country for the eclipse, keep farmers in mind and watch for purple posts

David Cansler expects "a blizzard" of
eclipse watchers at his farm. (SF photo)
The expected rush to see Monday's solar eclipse has some farmers wary. "You can only get so many people down a two-lane road," Terena Bell writes for Successful Farming from Cerulean, Ky., which will be the point of greatest eclipse, where the moon covers the sun most fully, at about 1:25 p.m. CDT.

"In West Kentucky tobacco country, late August is cutting season," Bell reports. "Inability to get in and out limits how many wagons you can move from field to barn and back, which could leave crops to burn in the fields, a concern county Magistrate Mark Wells voiced at a recent town hall."

David Cansler, who with relatives owns the farm with the greatest-eclipse point, predicts "a blizzard in August . . . They're just going to have to shut everything down." Christian County Judge-Executive Steve Tribble said, "you could have some crops destroyed" by people parking vehicles.

Purple posts in Maine and other
states mean "No Trespassing"
Five states along the path of totality have "purple post" laws, which ban parking where fence posts are painted purple: Illinois, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, and North Carolina, Bell reports. However, many visitors "are not going to know what a purple post means," said Jessica Hahn, the Farm Bureau manager in Jackson County, Illinois, which will have the point of greatest eclipse duration, where the moon will cover the sun for the longest time: one-tenth of a second longer than on Cansler's farm. Here's a screenshot of part of an interactive map from NASA:
Purple marker is where eclipse will last longest, 2 minutes and 40.2 seconds. Green marker shows where moon will cover sun most fully, but for 0.1 second less. Blue lines show bounds of totality, the length of which increases rapidly as you move inward; it will last 2:20 in Paducah, 1:48 in Cape Girardeau, Mo., and 47 seconds in Central City, Ky.

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