Since 1944, leaders in the agricultural industry have urged producers to take a step back before fall tasks take over and look at health and safety issues.
The third week in September has been designated as National Farm Safety and Health week and this year's theme is "Working Together for Safety in Agriculture".
Officials say this year's theme underscores the importance for everyone involved in the agriculture industry to build a safer and healthier work place.
UNL Extension educator Sharry Nielsen says that despite industry changes and educational efforts towards producer safety, agriculture fatalities remain higher than in any other industry sector.
In Nebraska, tractor overturns continue to be a major cause of fatalities, with ATV incidents running a close second, and in some years, surpassing tractors. Additionally, in recent years, grain handling accidents have caused more fatalities and injuries than have been seen in over 10 years.
Officials want farmers and ranchers to know they can do their part to stay safe during the busy fall work season.
Producers can plan ahead to be sure they are getting nutritious meals and snacks, including regular breaks during long work days. Regular sleep and physical activities like stretching and walking will also help keep minds alert and muscle in shape.
It is also important to prepare those working alongside producers. Some individuals may only work on the farm or ranch for a few weeks in the fall, which is why it is important to properly train these individuals to prevent serious injury.
Checks on equipment are another important part of staying safe on the farm or ranch. Most family members are great about doing pre-operation checks on their combines and tractors before they start harvest, but they may forget the ATV that is going to transport people or supplies to the field, the extra grain truck that "always works," or the auger that needs to be set up last minute.
Officials urge producers to take the week of Sept. 15-21 to make plans and prepare for the fall season to stay safe and healthy.
Conclusion: This week, September 15 – 21, is a time to make plans and preparations, so that we can all work together for a safe harvest.