Remember Farm & Highway Safety

With warm weather scheduled to arrive soon and fields drying out, farmers will be getting full swing into spring field work; especially fertilizer and pesticide application and planting corn and soybeans. It is important for safety to be an important focus for farmers and others in our rural communities during this busy time of the year. With farmers working to complete field operations so crops can be planted in a timely manner, risk of farm accidents can increase. When people get in a hurry, they tend to forget to check everything and are not as careful. Agriculture is the second most dangerous industry in the United States.  Approximately 100 children and youth die in farm work accidents annually in the United States.  In the spring of 2010 there were five farm fatalities in Nebraska in a matter of a few weeks.  There have been a number of ATV injuries and fatalities to youth on farms in Nebraska and other states in recent years as well.  It is extremely important to be aware of farm hazards to prevent potential farm accidents and even fatalities on the farm.  It is important for farmers and travelers alike to be aware of the dangers of equipment being transported on the highways and country roads. We will need to be careful and drive defensively at all times. Be careful when moving equipment on the highway!  There have been a number of accidents on highways in recent years. 

Sometimes it is very difficult to see, especially around dusk or dawn when the sun sometimes blinds you as you drive toward it.  Country roads can be dusty, making driving particularly hazardous when equipment is moving from field to field.  While these conditions call for cautious driving for the traveler, farmers need to have the proper SMV (Slow Moving Vehicle) signs on their equipment.  It is also important that farm tractors and sprayers have functioning hazard-warning lights.  Operating headlights and hazard-warning lights provide advance warning for other drivers on highways and country roads. When traveling at night, make sure all the hazard lights and headlights are working properly and be extremely careful watching out for traffic on the highway and county roads.

Safety at the farmstead and in the field must not be overlooked either. Always be aware of any power lines that equipment could come in contact with.   Equipment, tractor, and truck operators must always be aware of other people in the area, particularly young children and elderly people.  When entering the farmyard, especially at night, be alert to pedestrians.  If you are starting up and will be moving equipment, check to make sure everything is clear and there isn’t anyone playing or looking around the equipment.  Many times young children may be playing in and around equipment and are difficult to see.  Sometimes people may be looking at equipment and they do not hear it being started up and may end up in the way and at risk of getting injured.  Always protect yourself, use caution, and practice safety first! Also do not forget safety around in and around grain handling facilities, especially grain bins and grain handling equipment. There have been way to many tragic accidents in the area and in Nebraska the past couple of years involving grain handling!! PLEASE BE CAREFUL!!

Safety in the field must not be overlooked either. While you may be very careful when you’re on the road or at the farmstead when other people are involved, don’t forget safety in the field.  We must not ignore safety when we’re in the field.  Always be sure to follow all safety guidelines listed in the manufacturer’s operator manual and always have shields in place, and support equipment properly when working under it.  The bottom line is “JUST BE CAREFUL!” 

Finally we must not forget the continued threat of covid 19. While many people have been vaccinated and hopefully most people that want the vaccination will get it, there is still the potential of infection from the virus or variant strains of covid 19.  Many people have suffered and lost family members and friends this past year due to the virus.

 

Gary Lesoing
Extension Educator
Nemaha County
April 2021