With harvest approaching, farm safety is a huge concern in Central Nebraska. Everyone will be hurrying to get as much work done in as short a time as possible, while the weather is good.
Many farmers will be waiting later for their crops to mature, but they also must get the crop in before snow and freezing temperatures hurt the quality.
But it’s also important to recognize that throughout the year, men, women and children on farms throughout this area are doing dangerous jobs in order to feed the world and support their families.
At Husker Harvest Days last week, farm safety was an important topic, including at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s exhibit in conjunction with the Grain Handling Safety Coalition and Sukup Manufacturing Co. on a feature film, “SILO,” which deals with the danger of grain entrapment on farms.
The 70-minute film follows an 18-year-old boy who gets trapped in a grain bin and has to be rescued before he “drowns in corn.”
The tagline of the film is “Feeding the world comes at a cost.”
“There are financial costs, there are anxiety costs, there are mental health costs, and there are safety costs,” Sam Goldberg, the movie’s producer, said at Husker Harvest Days. “We hope to educate around safety and to give people in big cities an appreciation of what it takes for someone to get this done and perform an important duty to the planet.”
Organizations and communities who would like to sponsor a showing of “SILO” can call (855) 600-SILO or email Info@SiloTheFilm.org.
This week is National Farm Safety and Health Week and along with being at Husker Harvest Days to promote the movie, the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (CS-CASH) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the Agri-Safe Network are using the week to raise awareness of the risk of injury and illness for women in agriculture.
In Nebraska and throughout the Midwest, farming is a family operation. In many cases, women and teenage girls do as much work on the farm as men and boys do.
The 2017 U.S. Census estimates that 36% of all producers are female and 56% of all farms have at least one female decision maker. The total went from about 970,000 women in 2012 to about 1.2 million in 2017, a 27% increase.
Ergonomic injuries are key as women have more risks with regard to their size and physical strength. Injuries and strained muscles in the neck, shoulders and back are common. Ergonomic injuries can also occur more readily as women age and bone density, chronic diseases, natural decline in strength and other physical changes occur.
Traditionally, women in leading roles on the farm have not had access to safety training resources customized to suit their unique needs. Also, it’s typical on farms for both women and men to just jump in and do what needs to be done without concern for risks to their health.
AgriSafe is sharing training programs this week to help women on the farm become more aware of what they can do to protect themselves.
Individual and group training also is available through the AgriSafe Network website and can be scheduled for an on-site session. More details on these various training opportunities are available at the https://learning.agrisafe.org website and going to the “Training Catalog” link.