Fall is always an exciting time of year on the farm and ranch.
The hustle and bustle of things-to-do is extensive. Silage cutting, harvesting corn, hauling hay, moving cows to fields to graze crop residue, weaning and working calves, pregnancy checking the cow herd and winterizing before the first snowstorm hits — it seems like the list is never-ending.
However, despite the long days, the weather is typically enjoyable, the tasks are rewarding, and every day brings a new and exciting challenge to tackle.
With this excitement and constant action comes risks. The long days can also lead to physical exhaustion, burnout and the need to rush from field to field to get things accomplished while the sun is shining.
And it’s in those exact moments where we need to stop and remind ourselves that taking an extra second to choose the safe route can be the difference between life or death on the farm. Yes, that means even if it prolongs the task, delays completion or causes frustration because the safe way is the tedious or slower way.
Accidents can happen in an instant. Last weekend, we were on the gravel road hauling a load of weaned calves back home. I was in the pickup and trailer, and ahead of me was Tyler on the four-wheeler. The roads were dusty. The cornfields were standing tall. And in a split second, a cement truck blew through the stop sign and nearly wiped Tyler off the road right in front of me. I saw Tyler steer wildly into the ditch, missing the truck. The driver had no idea the tragedy that almost took place. We were thankful nobody got hurt, but it was a wakeup call.
We must stop, slow down, stay alert and stay safe on the farm and ranch!
How many of us have had close calls just like that? How many of us have lost loved ones due to a farm accident? We all want to make it home at night, so please, keep farm safety in mind during this crazy time of year.
On that note, Penn State Extension recently released a new safety manual for students that provides in-depth information on what youth can expect when working on a farm, with tips on safety basics, agricultural hazards, how to operate a tractor, and how to handle materials, among other important topics. This latest edition features updated regulations, vibrant and detailed illustrations and photos, and an improved user-friendly layout.
With young kids running around our ranch, we are also taking the time to review the great resources at the National Ag Safety Database. We are homeschooling this year, so the activity books and lesson plans are perfect and timely.
As a refresher, you can also read about these 10 tips to avoid injury on the farm or ranch, from Farm Bureau Financial Services.
Here’s your annual reminder to remember what matters most — keeping our agricultural communities safe! Let’s all be mindful out there.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.