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Farm Safety A Priority During Spring Seeding

Agriculture Program Specialist Rachel Kraynick says it's important to stay alert and be aware of the equipment.

She says each year we see a number of farm equipment and motor vehicle accidents.

Motorists are being asked to have a little extra patience as farmers may be moving large slow-moving equipment on rural roads and highways.

"Left turn collisions occur when farm vehicles are about to make a left turn and the motorist behind that piece of equipment decides to pass. We also see rear-end collision collisions happening when a motorist misjudges the speed when approaching a slow-moving vehicle. And this gives them only a few seconds to react and slow down."

She notes accidents also occur when motorists attempt to pass a piece of farm equipment, and they don't realize that it may be extra wide or long until they are right in the passing lane.

Farmers are also being reminded that while it's a busy time of the year, farm safety should always be a priority.

"Before you even get in the piece of equipment, do a walk around that piece of equipment. Make sure that your total equipment is checked, make sure it's hooked up properly, all your load should be balanced and securely mounted. And even checking for kids or pets or farm animals that could be hiding in your hidden spots. Just make sure it's all clear to go before you even get in."

She notes it's a good idea to avoid busy roads during high traffic times, try to avoid traveling before dawn or after dusk and make sure lights and flashers are all working, use flags, reflective tape, and slow-moving vehicle signs to let motorists know where you are.

Seeding is one of the busiest times of the year on the farm and many producers often bring in some extra help to get the crop in the ground.

Kraynick says it's important to make sure that helpers are well-trained on any equipment they are operating and are well aware of any hazards on the farm or fields.

She notes it's important that everyone have access to a cell phone in an emergency adding it's also a good reminder to go through some other basic information such as the land location, where first aid kits and fire extinguishers are located.

"Communication is key and having even team huddled in the morning and team meetings with your staff just to review these so that they become automatic thoughts. You know if this were to happen, this is how you react."

Kraynick notes it's important that equipment operators are fully aware of the height of their machinery and avoid any power lines, low bridges or other overhead obstacles.

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