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Wanted: New safety recruits

LaMar Grafft has visited many farms where the safety risks blend into the landscape like a pair of camouflage fatigues. Grafft, a safety specialist for the Iowa Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-Cash), knows it often takes a new set of eyes to recognize threats to the well-being of family and employees, as well as the bottom line of the farm business.

“As with any farm operation, there always are many things to do,” the former farmer says “but this list should include things that will keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy.”

Grafft teamed up with Risto Rautiainen, a health and safety specialist at Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health, University of Nebraska-Omaha, to conduct on-site Certified Safe Farm (CSF) reviews for the 2012 Operation FarmSafe Grant families.

Larry and Susan Castle, Imperial, Nebraska, received one of the four grants. They used their $2,500 to bury overhead power lines.

CSF is a voluntary agricultural health, safety, and wellness program created in 1996 by I-Cash. One component is an on-farm review to identify and remove hazards, and to provide personalized safety tips. To date, over 600 farms have participated. The CSF coalition includes partner programs in five states: Iowa, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. The program is unrelated to any regulatory agency; the score is confidential.

The Soltwedel family, near Shumway, Illinois, was also a grant recipient. “Using the grant for the manure pit fencing has probably given us the greatest peace of mind, since it's something we had been quite concerned about,” Norbert Soltwedel says. “We needed an incentive to get it done.”

Mike and Kay Winn of Rich Square, North Carolina, fenced their yard. Kay is a regular caregiver for their grandson.

Christina and Peter Winch, Fennimore, Wisconsin, agree that the program is valuable. “It only took a few minutes to write what we wanted to do,” Christina says. “Some things had been on our to-do list for a while. With the grant, accomplishing them was much easier.” 

Prevention pays for farmers who schedule routine safety maneuvers. Operation FarmSafe offers an opportunity to receive a free Certified Safe Farm (CSF) review, as well as a $2,500 grant to make improvements indicated by the review. The farm's CSF score is confidential, and there's no regulatory agency involved.

To apply, send a one-page application by April 30 with:

1. A brief description of your operation and family members working with you.

2. An explanation of how you and your family would benefit from a review/grant.

Nationwide Agribusiness Insurance is funding four grants. Recipients will be notified in mid-May and will need to make an appointment with a CSF reviewer to visit their farm in June. Specified work must be done by August 1, when a Successful Farming editor and photographer will visit.

Mail entries to:
Operation FarmSafe
Successful Farming Magazine
1716 Locust Street/LS257
Des Moines, IA 50309-3023
Or enter online at:

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