Get the Farmer Out of the Mud

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Recently, while driving through the Hill Country of Texas, my friend quizzed me about the signs that we were seeing with the abbreviations FM and RM. On our route from Dallas to the small town of Mason, we passed FM 1121, for example. I had no idea, assuming it had nothing to do with the radio. She explained that in Texas they have tons of FM and RM roads meaning farm-to-market or ranch-to-market. The farm-to-market roads are more narrow and winding than the surrounding highways. According to a Texas Montly article from April 1983,

The first farm-to-market road was opened in 1941. FM 1 extended only three miles into the Piney Woods, and the farmer wasn’t even the main beneficiary—the road led to the Temple Lumber Company sawmill at Pineland—but the prospect of paved roads in the backcountry was enough to stimulate one of the major lobbying campaigns in Texas history. Its slogan was “Get the farmer out of the mud,” and its success was assured in 1949 when the Legislature guaranteed permanent funding for new farm-to-market roads.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, Texas is the only state in the union to have roads of this kind of road designation.

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