Harvest season is officially upon us. Many have already started shelling corn, and those who haven’t been able to get into the field are stuck in the shed fiddling with the combine, greasing machinery, and hoping that moisture content will drop soon.
We’re thinking about yield, counting our bushels before they hit the bin, and hoping the market picks up. Unfortunately, we’re not always thinking about farm safety, but we should be. Last week was Farm Safety Week and now, as we’re getting ready for harvest, is a good time to take a hard look at our operation and what we can do to make this harvest a safe one.
While you’re out there working on equipment, take some time to make sure all your safety features are still in place and functional. Just taking a little extra time to check PTO shields and ensuring the protective grates on your augers are still in good condition can save a limb or a life. Once you’re in the field, remember those seatbelts are there for a reason, even if they aren’t particularly comfortable or convenient. Perhaps most importantly, be safe and careful whenever entering a grain bin.
For those that don’t farm, it means something else entirely. Most just think of it as a whole lot more slow-moving machinery on our highways and back roads that are sometimes hard to get around and slow us down. While I know it can be frustrating, please remember to be patient and slow down.
Whatever the reason for your hurry, it likely isn’t worth your life. Every year, thousands of farmers are injured and hundreds more are killed in farming accidents. If we all take a little time out of our day to be more careful and safety-minded, we can save lives. That means a few more Thanksgivings, a few more Christmases, and yes, a few more harvests with the ones we love. For me, it’s more time on the farm with my grandchildren and that’s worth more than gold.
Farming is a way of life for many in North Missouri. Protecting our way of life isn’t just relegated to legislation. Everyone can do their part to make sure that our farmers can go home at night, no matter how late into the evening it may be during harvest. Stay safe this year and happy harvest!