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Franklin County Farm Bureau: Farmers market has surprising economic impact

 
 
updated: 9/23/2017 9:51 AM

Not much rain was received in Franklin County this past week, but those who did receive some were grateful. Harvesting has begun with many farmers shelling corn and harvesting beans.

The New 4-H Year Kick-off Party will be held Sunday, Sept. 24 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Franklin County Extension Office at 1212 Rt. 14 West (directly behind the Farm Bureau office). Computers will be set up to enroll on-site. Dues for new members are $20 and for re-enrolling members $10, payable when you enroll. Parents will need to be there to fill out medical and risk release forms as well. There will be food, games and prizes. 4-H is a great way to get your kids involved in many activities. For more information, please call 439-3178.

Here are some great facts about the economic impact of the Benton Farmers Market for 2017 provided by Kathleen Logan with eatsoutherillinois.org. She attended the Farmer's Market twice during the year and surveyed 15 percent of the customer count.

• Last year our market averaged 400 customers each week for 26 weeks. Her survey revealed the average week purchase was $16.19.

• Four hundred customers per week are spending an average of $16.19 for a total of $6,476 each week. Twenty-six weeks of the market averages $168,376 for the year.

• Logan used a multiplier of 2.5 (a conservative number) for economic impact because money spent with farmers and local producers stays in the local economy longer. That brings the annual impact to $420,940.

• This equals the living wage all year for about nine families. This is the impact that the Benton Farmers Market has on the economy during a 26-week period -- we bring the dollars back into the community, which is our goal.

With the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, and with Hurricane Maria threatening the already devastated islands in the Caribbean, we have to wonder what else is coming. Then on Tuesday of this week there was a 3.8 magnitude earthquake with the epicenter showing in Edwards and Wabash counties, and on Sept. 9 a 3.1 magnitude earthquake epicenter was in Mt. Carmel in Wabash County. With so much going on these days, I think that it is even more necessary that we say a prayer daily for everyone involved.

Farm injuries increase by 50 percent during harvest due to working longer hours, dealing with equipment breakdowns and handling weather-related issues.

According to USDA, Illinois farmers started on corn harvest last week. During the fall harvest season, farmers spend countless hours in combines, tractors, trucks and other equipment. They also transport large equipment on our roads and highways.

Agriculture ranks among the nation's most hazardous industries. Farmers are at very high risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries. And farming is one of the few industries in which family members, who often share the work and live on the farm, are also at risk.

This time of year poses the highest risk of injury for farmers who experience fatigue and stress, under pressure to spend as much time as they can in the fields.

According to Robert Aherin, professor and ag safety and health program leader at the University of Illinois, sleep deprivation is a big problem, especially during harvest.

Try to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. If you're really tired, he advises shutting down for a few minutes and taking a nap. A 20-minute break with a short nap can really help improve alertness. A short walk every hour might do the same.

Staying safe during harvest is challenging. Contact with machinery presents the biggest risk for both injuries and fatalities, but there are ways to avoid them and stay sharp. Consider these tips:

• Inspect all machinery before beginning and have repair tools at the ready.

• Eat balanced meals.

• Stay hydrated to maintain awareness.

• Keep your phone on you, not on a dashboard.

• Keep SMV emblems and other markings maintained and clean of dirt and mud, so they can be seen.

• Replace faded reflectors. They fade faster if stored outdoors and constantly exposed to sunlight.

• Make sure everyone operating equipment is well trained.

• Keep extra riders off equipment.

Using good, common safety sense on the road and in the field will keep everyone safer during harvest. Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.

Just a reminder that farmers markets are still going on until the last week in October.

Remember, we are farmers working together. If we can help, let us know.