Harvest time is one of the busiest times of the year for farmers and their families. With more farm equipment on the road and in the fields now, it’s more important than ever to take precautions to prevent accidents.
To educate folks about farm safety, Morgan Schafbuch presents free education sessions across Iowa. Morgan is a student at Iowa State University and an outreach coordinator for the nonprofit Farm Safety for Just Kids.
At a recent training session in Ottumwa – one of 27 events Morgan conducted this year – she shared tips that adults can use to keep children safe on the farm during harvest time.
- Don’t let children play too close to the field or on the road.
- Communicate to kids the importance of staying away from machinery.
- Designate age-appropriate tasks for children to take part in. Younger kids can help feed calves. Older children can walk fields, picking up rocks that could damage equipment, or they can walk beans and detassel corn. Young adults can drive the tractor and help milk and manage livestock.
- Use the buddy system while loading and unloading grain. If one person is inside a grain bin, they should be tied off with a harness and a rope to another person outside the bin; that person can call 911 if a crisis arises.
- Allow plenty of time for rest and recuperation; frequent breaks are important. Adults tend to push it hard during planting and harvest seasons. Make sure you don’t get so tired that you cut corners that can result in accidents.
- Make sure your slow-moving vehicle (SMV) sign is installed and visible to all.
Learn more by visiting Farm Safety for Just Kids or the National Center for Agricultural Safety. Both organizations are based in Iowa.