Wednesday, July 19, 2017 Accidents Happen. Will You Be Ready?

My husband, John, and I belong to the weekend warriors: farmers who are dependent on off-farm income to sustain our families, provide insurance, and help plan for the future. We both work full-time jobs off the farm, have a toddler, families, friends, and church. As you can imagine, we don’t have a lot of spare time. Our farming is jammed into nights, weekends, vacation days, and holidays. Our time spent on the farm is carefully planned in advance; we divide and conquer to accomplish more tasks, and more often than not our to-do list gets precariously longer instead of encouragingly shorter.

While most folks had 4th of July plans to tan on the beach, my tan would come from wearing a tank top while spraying herbicides on multi-flora rose and blackberry bushes. While others drove the parkway, John drove the tractor to catch up on clipping our pastures. While families watched fireworks that night, we drove home with our sleeping toddler in the backseat.

Our farming day started like most at our farm. My parents picked up our son to take him back to their farm for the day. John filled the tractor with diesel, and I mixed the tank of herbicide. Bluebird skies and no breeze told me it would be a great day for the task at hand. With no drift, I could get a LOT accomplished in the limited time we had that day.

On my second tank, I decided to head up a logging road cut through the pasture to take care of some blackberry canes that were both at the base of the road and at the top. I had finished spraying the bushes at the base of the road, and was heading to the top when the front, right side of the 4-wheeler started to rise, and in the blink of an eye, there was no doubt it was rolling.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017 Is Farming America’s Most Dangerous Job?

Farming is a dangerous job. In fact, agriculture occupations, along with forestry and fishing, are routinely cited as some of the most dangerous jobs in America by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Farmers operate heavy machinery, interact with large animals, and work in confined spaces like grain bins. And, farming is a physically demanding job, too. On top of all that is the simple fact that, like forestry and fishing, farming is a rural occupation and injuries often happen miles from the nearest hospital or medical professional.

In its most recent report, the BLS found that fatalities among agricultural workers rose to 180—a 22 percent increase—while fatalities among farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers registered at 252. The majority of these fatalities were the result of transportation incidents and contact with objects and equipment. While other professions and industries also have high injury and fatality rates, farming, fishing, and forestry topped the list.


Click image for more BLS charts

That’s why health and safety are so important to Farm Bureau. This week is Agriculture Safety Awareness Progam (ASAP) Week, and the focus this year is SPACE. Topics include:

Wednesday, June 22, 2016 Communication is Key

Being a successful farmer in the 21st century means more than owning a tractor and a few acres. It means having the ability to adapt to constantly changing situations and environments, staying up-to-date on cutting-edge technologies, and knowing how to effectively communicate with employees, the public, government officials, salesmen, scientists, and lawyers, just to name a few. What’s sometimes overlooked when we talk about all of the important things farmers do is the simple but essential act of farmer-to-farmer communication. It’s National Pollinator Week, so today we’ll take a closer look at one way in which farmers are working together using a new voluntary communication tool called DriftWatch that is gaining momentum across the US.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 See a Tractor? Slow Down.

We’ve all been there. You’re cruising down one of North Carolina’s many rural highways or secondary roads, perhaps off to vacation at the beach or in the mountains, when all of a sudden you come up on a tractor or some other piece of farm machinery on the road. To many motorists, this is frustrating —a brief slowdown on an otherwise smooth journey. But to farmers, traveling on roads and highways can be a dangerous yet necessary part of the job. And with the arrival of spring and the beginning of the busy season for many of North Carolina’s farmers, you’re a lot more likely to encounter farm equipment on the road.