Tractor accidents 'happen anytime'

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    Brian Jordison had a rough day recently. It was an instance like hundreds of others on farms in the U.S. each year, only Jordison, unlike many farmers involved in machinery accidents, walked away and lived to share his story. Photos by Doug McGough

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    He was hauling silage for his beef cattle down a narrow, muddy road near his farm outside Fort Dodge, Iowa, last week when he drove into a ravine that had been deepened by runoff water from a nearby highway construction.

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    Then, his International 986 blew a fuse for the headlights. The next thing he knew, he was thrown through the windshield and into the gully.

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    “I went straight in. It just took me took to ground zero. I looked up and the tires and were still rotating and the engine was still running,” Jordison told me Monday, a week after the accident.

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    Jordison lost his cell phone in the fall, so was faced with a scramble up the bank and a half mile walk for help while in considerable pain. The fact that the bucket was set above the lights probably saved him a worse fate than the bruises, cracked ribs and cuts he sustained. “It’s not as bad as it could have been,” he said.

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    Jordison said hauling feed with that tractor is an operation he’s performed hundreds of times over the years, though the earthen dam along the ravine has narrowed because of washing from highway construction. “It’s just one of those deals,” he said. “It’s just something that can happen anytime.”

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    And if misery loves company, Jordison has it. A farmer friend was badly mauled recently by a “mama Brahma” cow, and has been recovering from surgery. Neither has been able to plant any corn yet.

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    “Maybe by the time it stops raining, we’ll feel well enough to run a planter again,” Jordison said. “Maybe we can hobble along together. I think I’ll do most of it in the day time, though,” he added.

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