Greetings South Carolina Farm Bureau family,
I hope everyone has had a restful summer and has taken time to enjoy the beauty of the Palmetto State. As summer comes to an end, we anticipate the arrival of the harvest. Harvest means long hours in the field doing what we love the most.
We also anticipate setting our policies for the upcoming year. I always look forward to our Policy Development meetings. We have just wrapped up this year’s meetings and have surfaced many issues that our members are facing. These meetings are truly grassroots in action as they help us set our priorities for future legislative sessions.
Last year, as part of this process, we adopted a new resolution to focus on farm safety. So often, our farm activities become second nature and we tend to get careless or find ourselves in a hurry. Farming has among the highest number of accidents of any occupation with nearly one-third of the farm population involved in some type of accident each year.
It is often necessary for farm machinery to use public roads to perform farm operations. We encourage farm machinery operators to share the road and exit the road when safe to relieve traffic congestion. On the other hand, accidents between the motoring public and farm equipment demonstrate the need for SC Department of Transportation and the SC Department of Public Safety to create programs that make drivers aware they must share the road. We will continue to work with SCDOT to develop safety recommendations for motorists to use when they encounter farm equipment on the road.
National Farm Safety and Health Week is September 15-21. Many national organizations offer training and resources to help you implement a safety program on your farm. Here are a few tips to consider to help shift farm safety into high gear this harvest season:
- Always maintain a “safety first” attitude
- Protect your skin from the sun with wide-brimmed hats, long sleeves and sunscreen
- Wear eye and ear protection
- Children working on the farm should be given age-appropriate tasks and should be under constant supervision
- Always turn equipment off, lower hydraulics, wait for all moving parts to stop and remove the key before leaving it unattended
- Before driving on public roads, be sure tractors are fitted with “Slow Moving Vehicle” signs
- Long hours in the field can lead to fatigue; take breaks, get proper nutrition and drink plenty of water
I encourage you to visit our Facebook page during Farm Safety Week – we’ll be giving away Farm First Aid Kits that are packed full of essentials for staying safe and healthy while working outside.
I wish everyone a safe and bountiful harvest in 2019!