As we begin harvesting, now is a good time to keep general farm safety in mind. Angie Johnson, NDSU Extension agent in Steele County, joins this week’s Sound Ag Advice to discuss ways farmers can keep themselves, their employees and their families safe on the farm.
What is Sound Ag Advice?
“Sound Ag Advice” presented by the NDSU Extension Service features NDSU Extension specialists and staff talking about current crop and livestock issues. “Sound Ag Advice” is free and can be used in any way you see fit.
Speaker 1: Kelli Anderson, NDSU Agriculture Communication Specialist
Speaker 2: Angie Johnson, NDSU Extension Agent – Steele County
Kelli: This is Sound Ag Advice, a weekly feature presented by NDSU Extension. I'm Kelli Anderson, and I'm joined this week by Angie Johnson, Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension agent in Steele County. Today we're going to be talking about farm safety.
So Angie, why is this time of year really important for farmers to slow down and think about safety on their farms?
Angie: Yeah, so that's a fantastic question. Farm safety is so important, as you said, but right now, it is a very, very busy time of year. Producers have a lot on their minds. Our communities are busy, we're trying to get back to school, trying to get back to a normal work schedule and adapt to the surroundings we're currently facing. And so there is a lot on people's minds, the stress levels are higher than normal. And so thinking about farm safety sometimes gets unintentionally put on the backburner because we're so focused on the task that we need to get done. And Mother Nature doesn't always help us with the amount of time we have to get those tasks done as well. So our plates are overloaded, we can be overwhelmed, so farm safety really sometimes takes a backseat in the forefront of our minds.
Kelli: What are some of your best tips for working safely on the farm?
Angie: I really like to think about farm safety in terms of slowing down and really thinking about our actions. So stop, think and act when we're working with farm equipment. Are we ready and properly trained and our employees properly trained on operating this equipment? Are we wearing the correct personal protective equipment for the job, farmers will joke about riding on open cab tractors in their youth or even currently and how poor their hearing is. And so hearing damage is irreversible. Taking the time to wear ear plugs or ear muffs or some type of hearing protection is absolutely crucial around the loud equipment that we work with.
Communication is so important too and knowing your surroundings and being able to get your message across in terms of what tasks you want completed, not only communication, but anytime an issue arises with the equipment you're working on, such as if your combine plugs out in the field as you're harvesting grain or crops, take the time and shut that machine off. You know, it's not worth an accident happening where your hand or your leg is in the wrong place at the wrong time. And so by slowing down, shutting off the equipment itself and doing proper maintenance on it, those are some ways to help prevent those life threatening actions.
Kelli: And finally, what are some of the resources that NDSU Extension has developed to help farmers, their employees and their families stay safe on the farm?
Angie: The NDSU Extension farm and ranch safety team has developed a wonderful website that features our NDSU Extension resources, anything from window clings that you can put right in your tractors to help you communicate with your employees and your farm families while you're in the cab and while someone's right on the ground. Also looking at cleaning and disinfecting of your equipment because we don't really think about the flu or the common cold as farm safety issues. But in this day and age, anything that slows us down and slows your operation down is detrimental to your farm. So whether you're fighting a cold or whether you're concerned and want to keep your equipment clean, really focusing how, as a whole, your farm is protecting yourself and your employees from infectious diseases.
So farm safety has a huge broad scope. Our farm and ranch safety website looks at everything from grain bin safety publications to chemical pesticides handling safety. Please take the time to checkout our materials and maybe start incorporating intentional farm safety talks and discussions with your employees and families at home.
Kelli: Thank you so much for your time today, Angie. This is incredibly valuable information. This has been Sound Ag Advice a weekly feature presented by NDSU Extension.