YOUR TEXAS AGRICULTURE MINUTE
Agricultural Safety Awareness Week set for March 1-7
By Gary Joiner
Safety is a priority on the farm and ranch every day, but this week brings special attention to those practices that save lives. It’s Agricultural Safety Awareness Week. The week focuses on mental health, transportation safety, weather disasters, confined spaces and farmer wellness.
Organizers encourage everyone to end the stigma around mental health. Recent studies have shown stress and depressive symptoms are prevalent in the agricultural community.
As many as 35 percent of farmers and ranchers experience symptoms of depression. Most mental health conditions are treatable, and early involvement by friends and family can lead to recovery.
Farm equipment is on the road, and motorists need to be patient with slower-moving machinery. Only pass when it’s safe to do so. Farmers and ranchers can help by driving with lights on during the day, marking their equipment with a Slow-Moving Vehicle emblem and outlining their vehicle with reflective marking on the widest points.
Farmers and ranchers should consider a weather-related disaster preparedness plan. A good first step is having a farm site map indicating important locations, such as cutoff sites for utilities like electric and gas.
Grain bin accidents are a serious risk on the farm. Three simple steps can help keep you protected: Turn off all augers, wear a safety harness and rope, and have a spotter outside the bin.
A busy planting season doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice nutrition. It’s easy to eat right, even from the tractor seat, with a few simple steps. Plan meals ahead of time, pack lots of fruits and veggies for snacking and make sure to control your portions. Also, remember it’s important to stay hydrated. It is a good idea to drink two to four cups of water each hour.
The theme this week is “20:20 Vision on Ag Safety.” It’s an important reminder to focus on keeping friends and family safe and healthy this year by recognizing common farm and ranch hazards.
The preceding commentary is brought to you by Texas Farm Bureau, the “Voice of Texas Agriculture.” Called “Your Texas Agriculture Minute,” TFB will issue thought-provoking editorials each week—via print and audio—to spark understanding of agriculture in the Lone Star State and its impact on each and every Texan.
You may read this week’s editorial above or listen to the audio version.
Media outlets: This content may be used without further permission.