There’s nothing like the view of a beautiful farm that stretches out among rolling hills.  (I always think I’d hate to have to mow all that land!)  But there’s much more behind those peaceful scenes.  Farming and ranching are on the list of America’s most dangerous jobs.  The consensus is that farmers and ranchers perform their routines in the same way, every day, every year, they sometimes become complacent about hazards that exist.  Bureau of Labor statistics show that on a per capita basis, out of every 100,000 workers, 38 die annually.

The family farm/ranch offers the opportunity to work out in the fresh air, keep the hours you wish (usually sunup to sundown), and often involves the entire family doing their share of work.  Children may be vulnerable to certain risks on a farm, such as playing around unattended equipment, ponds or tanks, or handling tasks that are not age-appropriate.  It’s recommended that the farmer/rancher check out any hazards that exist around the farm that could cause injury to youngsters or themselves.

It’s hard to list every danger that farmers/ranchers face, but here are just a few:

  • Injuries from equipment: augers, mowers, tractors, combines, grinders, balers;
  • Chemicals;
  • Sun exposure;
  • Heat and cold stress;
  • Hearing loss from equipment noise;
  • Livestock;
  • Gun accidents;
  • Storage bin accidents.

Farm animals that produce wool, eggs, milk and meat are considered livestock; they are not pets.  Although farmers and ranchers work with livestock every day and understand their temperaments, visitors, especially those with children, should be aware that even baby animals can kick or bite, and watch out for Momma!  (I learned my lesson when I tried to hold a cute little baby pig – he squealed, and here she came, Hell Bent for Leather!)

There are eleven uniform hand signals that The American Society of Agricultural Engineers recommends that farm families, employees and visitors should know in order to better communicate with each other.  Many times workers are far apart or there’s so much noise, it’s hard to hear each other.  Workers should be educated in first aid and know what to do to respond to an accident.  It is very important that the correct safety equipment is used, according to the risks involved: weather, pesticides, drills, sharp objects, grinders, etc.

We salute our farmers and ranchers for their hard work and dedication to furnishing America’s food and much more.