SD Corn: Stay safe on the farm during harvest this fall

South Dakota Corn
Ag News

Fall is one of the busiest times of year for our state’s farmers and ranchers. It seems like there is so much to do and so little time to do it, especially as the days get shorter and the temperatures begin to fall.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the agriculture sector is still most dangerous in America. Safety measures are especially important this time of year.

As we enter the busy season, here are some friendly reminders to help keep you and your loved ones safe as the season continues.

Protect skin

Summer has drawn to a close, but that doesn’t mean the risk of sun exposure is over, especially for those spending long hours tending to the land and livestock. Since sun exposure is a well-known cause of skin cancers and melanoma, farmers are at an increased risk for developing these conditions.

Several steps you can take to protect yourself and decrease your risk of sun exposure include:

  • finding shade when possible
  • wearing a hat, UV protectant sunglasses and long sleeves when in sunlight for extended periods
  • incorporating an SPF 15 or higher protectant into your skincare routine year-round

Grain bin safety

Although Grain Bin Safety Week is in late winter, a good portion of accidents relating to grain bins and entrapment happen in the fall, when many are prepping bins for harvest.

According to a Purdue University study, between 1962 and 2019, 60% of grain entrapment cases were fatal.

To help ensure your operation is safe, identify any hazards that may occur with grain conditions, atmospheric conditions or any issues that may occur with equipment and storage structures. This helps keep you, your family and any employees safe.

Check on friends and neighbors

Farmers and ranchers have some of the most demanding jobs of any field, oftentimes starting very early in the morning and lasting long into the night, with days that seem to blend.

Exhaustion and fatigue can lead to a serious risk of injury for farmers, having both physical and mental consequences. As best said by Jim Woster, “farm accidents almost always happen when we’re tired and in a hurry.”

We’re all busy this time of year, but lending a hand to a neighbor, friend or family that needs it just may make all the difference for them and help lower their stress level. However, sometimes the stress for many of our hardworking farmers and ranchers across the state can be too much.

Weather conditions, machinery malfunctions, unpredictable markets and long hours that lead to less time spent with family and loved ones can add up. If you or someone you know needs someone to talk, there are plenty of resources across the state to help navigate any challenges you face.

Avera offers a Farm and Rural Stress Hotline that allows farmers and ranchers to talk to a skilled and compassionate mental health professional who can help you navigate whatever you may be experiencing. It’s a free, confidential service.