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Sept. 19-25 is National Farm Safety Week
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You don’t have to go past Great Bend to remember tragic ATV accidents attached to names like Gavin Neuforth and Landon Unruh. Not much farther away, an 8 year-old boy died in an ATV accident near Sterling this past spring.

As I mentioned last week, Sept. 19-25 is National Farm Safety Week and the theme this year focuses on All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs). The title is "ATVs: Work Smart - Ride Safe."

ATVs have become popular for work and recreation on many farms and ranches. Unfortunately, reported cases of serious injury and death have increased along with their increased use. Most of these injuries and deaths can be attributed to improper use of ATVs. Make ATV safety a priority on your farm or ranch.

An ATV is not a toy. Children should not be permitted to operate ATVs without specialized training and then they should be allowed to only operate an ATV of an appropriate size. Contact the ATV Safety Institute to enroll in a course. In the meantime, here are some important safety tips:

• ATVs with an engine size of 70 cc to 90 cc should be operated by people at least 12 years of age.

• ATVs with an engine size of greater than 90cc should only be operated by people at least 16 years of age.

• Wear appropriate riding gear: DOT-, Snell ANSI-approved helmet, goggles, gloves, over-the-ankle boots, long-sleeve shirt and long pants.

• Read owners manuals carefully.

• ATVs are not made for multiple riders. Never carry anyone else on the ATV.

• Any added attachments affect the stability, operating and braking of the ATV.

• Just because an attachment is available doesn’t mean that it can be used without increasing your risk of being injured.

• Do not operate the ATV on streets, highways or paved roads.

Inspection of the machine and equipment should take place each time you ride. Check the following:

• Are tires and wheels in good condition?

• Are controls and cable operational?

• Does the chain have proper slack and is it lubricated?

• Is riding gear (including a helmet) available and worn?

This information is supplied by the National Safety Council’s Agricultural Division, the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS). You can find out more at or 888-844-6322. We have a couple of good safety DVDs at our office that can be checked out for group or individual viewing. Just call me or e-mail me in advance of when you would like to use them.

If you miss doing it this month, you can practice and promote safety any time of year as we do with our tractor safety course in the spring and with the Progressive Farmer Safety Day that Central Prairie Resource, Conservation and Development (R,C & D) offers.

I hope that the memories of the young men mentioned above can prevent at least one death or ATV accident.


Beef Stocker Conference

K-State will host their annual Beef Stocker Conference in Manhattan on Thursday, Sept. 30. It will be held at the Beef Stocker Unit just northwest of Manhattan.

Registration is $25 in advance or $35 at the door. We have brochures at the extension office.

Normally the term stockers refers to weaned beef calves going to graze or "stock" grass pastures or other roughage. We’ll offer management tips to help you optimize your stocker operation and provide you with greater flexibility in the future.

It will begin with registration and coffee at 9:30 a.m. The actual educational program begins at 10:30 with Dr. Glyn Tonsor talking on "What is in Store for the Stockers?" This will be followed by a panel discussion on "Receiving Protocols: What We Do."

At noon, there will be a barbeque brisket lunch. You can view posters and demonstrations, innovations and applications for the stocker segment. These will include Cattle Handling by Moly Manufacturing and Innovative Scale Weighing Systems by Avery Weigh-Tronix, Inc.

The afternoon program will include: "Managing BRD Risk by Controlling Variation of Incoming Cattle with Micotil" by Dr. Jared Gould of Elanco and "Cutting Bull Management" with Dr. Hans Coetze. From 2:30 - 5 p.m. there will be breakout sessions as follows:

"Rethinking Growth Implants: Where Do they Fit?" By Dr. Gerry Kuhl

"Tips for the Mixer Wagon" by Dr. Scott Laudert

"Current Thinking on Mycoplasma" by Dr. Bob Larson

This should be a good opportunity for beef stocker cattle producers.

Rick Snell is the Barton County Extension Agricultural Agent for K-State Research & Extension. He can be reached at 620-793-1910 or The Barton County Extension Office is located at 1800 12th Street in Great Bend.