During the winter meeting season, Extension Educators/Agents should stress the impact that agricultural safety, health, and emergency planning can have on a farm or ranch. The time to develop and implement a plan could mean the difference between life and death for an agricultural producer in your area. Help farmers and ranchers address the following areas:
- Safety and Health Management Plan – Essential for all types of ag operations but especially for operations with employees and youth workers. Are local farms/ranches providing annual safety training for their workers? Do they instruct their workers on how to inspect machinery before it is used? If worker safety is an area that needs some innovations, visit FReSH (https://www.extension.org/agsafety) to access Education and Outreach materials manuals on conducting a safe tractor driving workshop, AgSafety4U, Safety in Agricultural for Youth National Clearinghouse, and other training materials/programs.
- Farm Emergency Plan – Stress the importance for farm/ranch owners and managers to develop a farm emergency plan which could be extremely valuable in the event of an emergency in regards to reducing property damage, decreasing loss of equipment, and saving lives. Encourage them to talk with their local emergency responders to develop a plan in the event that an agricultural emergency occurs, and provide responders with contact list, a map of their farm that outlines animal housing, chemical storages, electrical shutoffs, structures, etc. That includes essential details for each structure such as contents (e.g., animal, pesticides, gas, etc.) and location of the electrical shutoff.
- First Aid Kits – As part of your winter meetings, provide farmers and ranchers with information about first aid kits and how to assemble kits themselves. Visit FReSH for a first aid content list: http://articles.extension.org/pages/66377/first-aid-kits-for-production-agriculture. First aid kits are necessary on a farm operation but be innovative in your winter meetings and bring in someone from the Red Cross, local hospital, or nearby emergency responder that would provide first aid training to your agricultural community.
The farms and ranches are the livelihood and homestead for many people in your regions. Help protect them and the people that work there by stressing the importance of farm/ranch safety and health. (Photo: Ag Rescue Training. Photo source: Penn State Ag Safety & Health)