September 19, 2021

As Harvest Season Begins, COUNTRY Financial® Reminds Farmers and Motorists "Farm Safety Yields Real Results"

COUNTRY Financial® provides safety tips to protect and enrich lives in rural communities, as local farmers prepare for harvest

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – This month, COUNTRY Financial® joins the National Education Center for Agriculture Safety (NECAS) and other organizations across the country to raise awareness of the risks associated with working in agriculture and promoting safe and healthy practices through the harvest season and beyond. The agricultural sector is still the most dangerous in America with 574 fatalities, which equals 23.4 deaths per 100,000 workers, according to 2018 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For this reason, the third week of September has been recognized as National Farm Safety and Health Week. This annual promotion initiated by the National Safety Council has been proclaimed as such by each sitting U.S. President since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944. National Farm Safety and Health Week is led by the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS), the agricultural partner of the National Safety Council.

“Farmers face many dangerous situations throughout the year, not the least of which is maneuvering large equipment from field to field throughout the harvest season,” said Eric Vanasdale, Loss Control Supervisor for COUNTRY Financial. “It’s up to all of us to ensure safe roadways. Rural motorists are encouraged to give themselves a few extra minutes for travel during the harvest season so they can slow down to keep our farmers and families safe. It is easy to miscalculate the equipment’s slower speed as you approach it on the road in a faster moving vehicle.”

National Farm Safety and Health Week runs from Sept. 19-25 with daily themes to accompany the general safety theme.

  • Monday, Sept. 20 – Tractor Safety & Rural Roadway Safety
  • Tuesday, Sept. 21 – Overall Farmer Health
  • Wednesday, Sept. 22 – Safety & Health for Youth in Agriculture
  • Thursday, Sept. 23 – Agricultural Fertilizer & Chemical Safety
  • Friday, Sept. 24 – Safety & Health for Women in Agriculture

Safety tips for farmers

  1. Keep Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) signs, lights, and the body of farm vehicles clean. Dirt or debris can cover these safety features which lowers equipment visibility. Also, depositing anything on the road that obstructs traffic is illegal and dangerous.
  2. Travel in farm vehicles at low traffic times when possible. Roads are typically busiest on weekdays when people are traveling to and from work.
  3. Continue to be observant. As always, be aware and attentive when driving. Distracted driving is just as dangerous in farm vehicles as it is in regular vehicles.

Safety tips for drivers

  1. Find the lights on farm vehicles. Farm vehicles are required to have amber and red rear lights. The amber lights should be visible to the front and rear. They should flash as a warning to other motorists.
  2. Slow down as soon as you see a farm vehicle. Most farm equipment only travels 15 to 20 miles per hour, so it is crucial to slow down before it is too late.
  3. Be cognizant of the time of year. Harvest season typically runs from September through November. Drivers should expect to see farm vehicles on the road during this time.

Farm families experience frequent stress as they participate in operations that are active 24/7. As family farms are handed down to new generations, younger farmers have likely not experienced layered stresses and should seek assistance in coping. Many COUNTRY Financial Representatives and Insurance Agents often deliver meals in the field and check on their clients during this busy time of year. Family members and friends can also help step up and be the eyes and ears that can step in and provide food, operational safety reminders, and provide a needed break or help ensure quiet time for needed rest.

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COUNTRY Financial® is a family of affiliated companies (collectively, COUNTRY) located in Bloomington, IL. Learn more about who we are.