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It Only Takes a Second

Yes, it only takes a second for a farm accident to happen, but it only takes a second to prevent one as well. The main article on BEEF Daily today is all about farm safety and accidents that occur on livestock operations.

Now, I can tell you that when I was growing up, there were countless close calls on my cattle operation. Sometimes, they were so close, it made you want to recount all your fingers to make sure they were all there. Sadly, it isn't until a tragedy happens that farmers wake up and take notice of farm safety practices that should be used each and everyday. And today, I want to share a story about a little boy who had a close call that was almost the last call to remind all of you how precious life is.

For farm wife, Melissa Hart, the tragic stories of farm accidents hits close to home. In April of 1999, her husband, Bobby, was backing into the barn with a load of corn silage with the skid steer. He didn’t see his son Jake, then only 22 months old. He backed over him, feeling a lump but thinking it was just a lump of feed. When he got off the skid steer to start the mixer, he saw Jake’s sweatshirt between the tires and realized what he had done. Bobby carried his son to Melissa, and together, they waited with their injured son for the ambulance to arrive.

“There is no scarier feeling than to see your screaming child with a blue face, droplets of blood coming from his eyes and nose, and knowing that you can do nothing but wait for a doctor’s help,” said Hart, who works alongside her husband on her family’s dairy operation in Michigan.

After being airlifted to a children’s hospital over two hours away, the Harts were told that their son would live. With a broken femur and a body cast, Jake spent a week in the intensive care unit on a ventilator.

jake_in_cast.jpg Jake Hart was lucky to live after his farm accident.

“We didn’t change our focus on farm safety for just a few weeks,” said Hart, who is a freelance writer and speaks to groups about Jake’s accident. “Farm safety has become a lifestyle change. Jake is now a healthy boy with dreams of becoming a farmer. I’m so grateful our accident didn’t turn into a tragedy, and I believe farm safety can’t be stressed enough.”

jake-showing.JPG Today, Jake is a healthy, strong boy with dreams of taking over his family's cattle operation.

I agree, farm safety is ever important. So how about you? Any close calls on the farm? How do you and your family practice farm safety on your ranch?