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Helping farmers increase tractor safety

Helping farmers increase tractor safety

A Wisconsin bill would provide funding for rollover protection systems

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The Wisconsin state senate is considering a bill that could provide rebates to producers who install rollover protection systems (ROPS) on tractors.

Senate Bill 35 calls for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to set aside US$250,000 in grants per year for ROPS.

Senator Patrick Testin introduced the bill in May. In November, he introduced an amendment that, if passed, would reduce the annual dollar figure to US$150,000 per year.

The bill would allocate the money to the National Farm Medicine Center to assist farmers with the installations.

 “The bill builds on research from ag health and safety,” Casper Bendixsen, a center director at the National Farm Medicine Center, told WSAW on Wednesday. “We reimburse the farmers for installing these and we try and limit the out-of-pocket cost to the farmer.”

The state would cover about 70 percent of the costs, leaving farmers to pay about US$500 per unit.

Regardless of the dollar amount the state provides for ROPS installations, farmers should take the government up on its offer, an ag safety specialist said.

“We still know from the data that tractor rollovers remain the single biggest cause of farm fatalities and that, obviously, if a tractor has a suitable protective structure, it can save lives,” John Shutske, an ag safety and health specialist with the University of Wiconsin-Madison, told “I hope farmers take advantage of this opportunity if the money comes through.”

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