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Stay safe during harvest

The warm summer evenings have carried the slight essence of
fall, the wooly caterpillars are making their debut, children are filing back
into the classrooms, and harvest is getting underway.  I love the excitement and anticipation that harvest brings
... producers finally reaping the rewards of their hard work. 

In the excitement and hurried pace that often ensues comes a
gentle tone of caution and voice of concern, and we pause and remind ourselves
of some of important safety precautions that need to be implemented this time
of year. So important, in fact, that I will focus this month's column solely on

Why the pause from my usual marketing topics? Because, quite
frankly, if someone close to you is hurt or killed in a farm accident, all of
the money in the farm marketing world won't make up for your loss.

It seems that every year I talk with producers who have
encountered, tragically, a neighbor, family member or valued community member
who has fallen victim to a harvest accident. The following tips are not new,
yet I encourage you to print out the tips below and tape them to your fridge,
office desk, or machinery shed wall to remind those around you to be mindful of
safety during this time of year.

Harvest safety tips:

  • Turn off equipment when working around it. Turn the tractor
    off every time you get off.
  • Complete a thorough safety check on all equipment before you
    use it.
  • Make sure all shields and guards are in place on your
    equipment. Replace those that are worn or missing.
  • Make sure your Slow Moving Vehicle emblem is visible and
    properly placed.
  • Make sure someone knows what field you're in, and that you
    have set a time you'll return home.
  • Don't wear loose fitting clothes. They can become entangled
    in moving equipment such as a PTO shaft.
  • Never allow extra riders. One seat on a tractor means one
    person should be on that tractor.
  • Have rollover protective structures (ROPS) installed on all
  • Wear your seatbelt (only on ROPS equipped tractors).
  • Adverse weather adds to harvesting pressure. Do not rely on
    stimulants to keep you going or depressants to calm your nerves. Keen awareness
    is important to safety.
  • Periodic breaks relieve the monotony of machinery operation.
    If you are going to eat in the field, at least climb down from the machine and
    relax for 15 to 20 minutes. 
  • Teach workers proper techniques and safety precautions.
    Enforce safety rules.
  • Every piece of powered equipment should carry a fire extinguisher. 
  • Do not allow children around machinery.
  • In and around farms and fields there are a number of
    overhead power lines. When moving tall equipment around the farm, beware of
    overhead power line dangers.

Being prepared and mindful of safety tips is essential.
Remember, your first response is your rehearsed response. Proactively tell
others around you about the need and implementation of safety strategies on
your farm, and have your emergency response scenario ready in case of the

We'll talk markets again next time, after a safe harvest
season. Best wishes!


Naomi Blohm is a marketing advisor for Stewart-Peterson and a regular contributor to Women in Ag at

If you have marketing questions, you can reach Naomi at

or post a marketing question on the Women in Ag Discussion page.

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