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A risky business
Farm Safety Month calls attention to dangers of industry
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 This past week was Farm Safety and Health Week and when September wraps up Wednesday, so does Farm Safety Month, but the risks of agriculture continue. The annual observance, a program of the National Safety Council’s National Education Center for Agricultural Safety in its 72nd year, was a time to call attention to this dangerous occupation.

According to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injury, agriculture is seven times more hazardous than other U.S. industries. Since we live in agricultural region, this likely comes as no surprise.

And, in Kansas, approximately 90,121 children live in rural areas and these kids are at greater risk of unintentional injury-related death than children living in urban areas.

On average, a child dies from injuries on a farm once every three days in the United States. Tractors are the leading cause of those deaths, accounting for approximately 40 percent of unintentional farm injury death of children under age 15. According to a study released in the Journal of Pediatrics in 2012, less than one-third of farm-related injuries in youth from 2001-2006 were not work-related. 

The safety and health of Kansas farmers, ranchers and their families is imperative to the livelihood of agriculture. Through proper training and education, agricultural-related fatalities and incidents can be prevented. 

“Promoting the safety of agriculture to Kansas citizens is second to none. Agriculture is the driving force behind our daily lives.  Proper and persistent farm safety will help keep the valued and treasured heritage of Kansas agriculture alive,” said Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey. 

The theme for National Farm Safety and Health Week is “Ag safety: It’s not just a slogan, its a way of life.” Last week was an opportunity to bring awareness to vital farm safety while celebrating Kansas’ largest industry that brings together, whether in the field or around the dinner table, the people who matter. 

For those who live on the farm, these dangers are never very far away. For those who don’t, this is a time to reflect on just what it takes, and the risks involved, in putting food on their tables.

Dale Hogg