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Agriculture: Virginia Beach to seek greater coordination on farming equipment, utility wire issues

A combine traveling along the 1700 block of Princess Anne Road snagged low-lying power lines on Wednesday, Oct. 19. The operator of the combine was not at fault, according to police, who said the cause was likely lines that were low due to replacement during a recent storm. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

A combine traveling along the 1700 block of Princess Anne Road snagged low-lying power lines on Wednesday, Oct. 19. The operator of the combine was not at fault, according to police, who said the cause was likely lines that were low due to replacement during a recent storm. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

THE INDEPENDENT NEWS

VIRGINIA BEACH – City Agriculture Director David Trimmer said his department has reached out to local power officials to improve points of contact between the farming community and utilities when it comes to low-hanging wires.

The height of overhead wires accross and along roads can be an issue for farmers moving equipment along city streets, especially in and around the rural area. Virginia Beach Farm Bureau, among other interested parties, has included the issue in its annual legislative agenda.

City Councilmember Barbara Henley, who is a farmer and represents the Princess Anne District, said wires that travel over sections of fields and along side roads are an area of concern.

“It’s a continuous issue with the farmers because so many lines go across fields or go by fields,” Henley said. “It’s something we constantly are concerned about.”

Last month, residents near Pungo lost power after a combine traveling through the “downtown” snagged an overhead wire, toppling utility poles along the 1700 block of Princess Anne Road. 

The combine operater was not cited in the incident, according to Master Police Officer Tonya Pierce, a police spokesperson. Wires in the area had recently been replaced due to the recent storm, a likely cause, according to police.

Trimmer said focus upon the issue was in the works before the incident in Pungo. The matter was to be discussed during the October meeting of the agricultural advisory commission, though that meeting was cancelled due to weather.

The commission meets again in January, but Trimmer said he is already working to establish a process for reporting lines that may pose an issue for traveling farm equipment.

“There are several areas in the southern part of the city where the farming community feels we have some low hanging lines,” Trimmer said. “Dominion is very much willing to address those issues. … A lot of it is not going across the road. A lot of it is running parallel to the roads.”


© 2016 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC

The Independent News

One Comment

  1. It is fortunate that the combine operator was not injured as a result of the equipment’s contact with power lines. Ms. Henley is right to be concerned about the danger. Earlier this year (April) in Cherokee County, SC, a man died from electrocution as he attempted to get off of a piece of equipment that had contacted a power line in a field where he was working. Power companies need to consider farmers and their equipment when planning the placement and height of the lines.

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