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Area farmers have been through the wringer because of this year’s historic drought and blistering heat during July and August. But they have one more hurdle to negotiate before they can put the 2012 crop year behind them.
They must safely harvest their crops.
And though this year’s yields probably are going to be pretty meager compared to the norm, it’s no less dangerous this time around. Farmers still face the same challenges to operate dangerous machinery for long periods of time. And they’re still exposed to the same hazards on the roadways as they travel from field to field.
In fact, agriculture is ranked as one of the most dangerous professions – right up there with mining. Last year, 476 farmers died from on-farm accidents across the nation, and another 113 youths under the age of 20 were killed. Not surprising, most deaths and injuries involved machinery – including tractors, combines, augers and ATVs.
For more information about harvest safety, see pages 6 and 7 in today’s Leader-Union.
We encourage operators to heed the common-sense safety precautions that can keep them safe around those machines. Whenever a person is doing repetitive tasks, such as many of those involved in harvesting, there is a tendency to get lulled into a false sense of security. And that’s when accidents happen.
Similarly, we ask motorists to be extra cautious during the next few weeks as they share the roadways with farm equipment. It’s easy to get impatient when you find yourself behind a slow-moving combine or tractor. But don’t take unnecessary chances just to save a few minutes on your drive. Most farmers won’t be traveling on the road very far, and if they are, most are courteous enough to pull over occasionally to let motorists pass.
We all play a part in getting through the harvest process safely. Do what you can to make this harvest season accident-free for everyone involved.