Farming can be one of the most rewarding careers and an amazing way of life. It offers much opportunity, it’s honorable and hard work, and it allows people to contribute to things that matter – things that positively affect the environment and humankind, both now and in the future.
Farming isn't that warm and fuzzy though, as farming is also one of the most dangerous professions around. Yes, they have to contend with aliens landing and stealing animals at night .... wait, what??! KIDDING! However, there are very real dangers that they do face.
Large animals, large pieces of equipment, long-term exposure to chemicals and heat, large structures; all are potential hazards and threats that farmers face on a daily basis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 167 farm workers are injured on the job every day, furthering the importance of farmers being constantly alert and careful in and out of the fields.
We have compiled a list of some of the most common dangers faced on the farm:
Tractor rollovers. Tractor overturns are the number one cause of injuries and fatalities on the farm. Pair their top-heavy configuration with some uneven terrain, and tractors are very easy to flip. Surprisingly, they are most commonly overturned by even the most experienced operators, too.
Livestock. Working with animals on the farm can yield great products, but animals are their own beings with their own personalities, and that can often times make them unpredictable. They can be skittish and sensitive, and there’s also the potential for them to carry and pass along diseases.
Grain bins. The potential threats posed by grain bins are perhaps the scariest to think about – suffocation being the most prominent. While deaths and injuries in grain bins are not as common as tractor overturns or grouchy livestock, they still happen. Sometimes, upon entering a bin, wet and clumped grain can break apart, causing someone to sink and be engulfed. Grain can also emit CO2, which has a multitude of negative side effects if inhaled.
Heat exposure. Working long days in the beating sun, especially when handling heavy workloads, can cause farm workers to suffer from heat stroke or heat illness. This causes less blood to get to the brain and other organs, triggering dehydration and making workers weaken and tire quickly.
Agrichemicals. Chemicals like insecticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and fuel are commonly used in farming. While they are often considered by most farming operations as necessary, especially with regard to growing and running farming equipment, they can be extremely hazardous. Direct and long-term exposure can result in headaches, nausea, dizziness, and poisoning.
Farming is a noble, yet threatening profession. Farmers show real courage and strength daily, and continuously put their lives on the line to get the job done and provide consumers with the goods we need and depend on.
So, next time you eat that yummy apple, glug down that glass of milk, or munch on your favorite veggie, remember what farmers went through to produce it for you. Simply put, farmers are true heroes in our book!
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See you on the farm!