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Franklin County farmers: Exercise caution during harvest

By Gay Bowlin
Franklin County Farm Bureau
updated: 10/5/2017 12:48 PM

Just a reminder that farmers markets throughout the county are still open until the end of October. Take advantage of what the area farmers have to offer that is still fresh from their gardens.

During the fall harvest season, countless hours are spent in combines, tractors, trucks and other equipment by farmers and workers, who will be transporting large equipment on our roads and highways. Some workers may be young, new or inexperienced, so it's always a good suggestion to go over safety considerations with all workers to teach or reinforce the importance of safety on the farm.

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, are also at risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries.

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. Injuries actually increase by 50 percent during harvest.

Not only are hours long and the workload heavy, but farmers also have to deal with equipment breakdowns and weather-related issues. 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 well-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 those operating equipment are well-trained; this is not the time to train them.
• Get a good night's sleep to be as rested as you can be.

Teachers using Ag in the Classroom to boost lessons.
Teachers are using tools and resources from the Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom program to incorporate agriculture education into general class curriculum. The Illinois Farm Bureau-led program, now in its 35th year, infuses agriculture into everyday subjects and offers up resources for teachers, including hands-on activities for students ranging in age from kindergarten through high school and college.

If you would be interested in any of the resources that we have available in Franklin County or to schedule Melissa Lamczyk, Ag in the Classroom coordinator to come to your classroom, please call 435-3616.

Just in time for the end of the year: New member benefit is John Deere Program. Members will be eligible for all benefits associated with GreenFleet Platinum 2 status. To receive these benefits, members can sign up through ilfb.benefits/farm-home.aspx. Once a member has signed up for GreenFleet, they will have access to all the benefits, including savings on commercial mowing, residential mowing, utility vehicles, tractors, golf and sports turf, and much more. For more information, call the Franklin County Farm Bureau at 435-3616, or call your local John Deere dealer.

Companies offering savings to Illinois Farm Bureau members include, but are not limited to, Case IH, Ford, Caterpillar, Theme Parks, Great Wolf Lodge, Choice and Wyndham Hotels, Polaris and ADT.

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

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