Since 1944, the third week in September has been designated National Farm Safety and Health Week. This recognition has been an annual promotion initiated by the National Safety Council and has been proclaimed as such by each sitting U.S. President since Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the first document.
America’s farmers provide us with an abundant food supply. But farmers are exposed to a unique, sometimes hazardous workplace. Agriculture continues to rank as one of the most dangerous occupations in North America and across the globe. Each year, approximately 26 out of every 100,000 American farmers and farm workers die on the job.
This year’s theme is “Cultivating the Seeds of Safety.” Each day of the week — beginning Sunday — will highlight a specific health or safety concern just not for farmers but those who travel the road and highways with them as well as other topics such as suicide, child and youth health safety, confined spaces in agriculture and tractor safety.
Anyone who has been traveling any of the roads in Edgar County the past week know farmers are in the fields combining beans with corn to follow. The roads are filled with combines, tractors pulling large carts filled to the brim with beans.
In this day and age, everyone seems to be in a hurry. But remember that farmer or his wife or his son driving that slow moving vehicle deserves respect on the road. The top speed for a vehicle with an SMV sign is 25 miles per hour. Be patient.
Farmers and veterans have something in common. They protect and provide for their fellow Americans and they have alarmingly high suicide rates. Talk about it. You are not alone.
While Edgar County has several large industries, we remain a predominately agricultural county with agribusiness industries such as Cargill, Nutrien Ag Solutiona, Great Heart Seed, Farm Credit as well as local banks that cater to the farmer.
Let’s pledge this week to respect our farmers and their families on the road. Let us remember they are an important part of what makes our county our home.