I hope you have been reading, as I have, the great series of articles by Jeff Meitrodt of the StarTribune on farm safety and accidents.
Farming is one of the most dangerous occupations in the U.S., despite dramatic improvements in implement and tractor safety features in the last three decades. All farmers are subject to these important farm safety issues, but those who choose to use older equipment need to pay special attention.
Much of the equipment on our farm is of the “older” variety. Some of these implements were never equipped with safety features; some that were had safety features removed or disabled long before I came upon them. I can relate to many SFA members on whose farms I’ve been or who have told me what they are using for equipment. New and beginning farmers often purchase older equipment just to get started.
There is no amount of precaution that should be considered “overboard” when it comes to farm safety. We’ve all heard the horror stories, but most of us never think it will happen to us. Some families who have had a severe farm accident have made little or no changes, rather simply assuming, “That’s farming for ya …”
The definition of sustainable includes sustaining the health of the farm workers. Farm injuries or death due to improper safety precautions are not sustainable. Read the articles. As harvest comes on this fall, stop and think, take the extra walk around the combine before getting in to back up, double check, triple check. Please.