Today marks the start of National Farm Safety and Health Week, which has been celebrated during September for nearly 70 years. In honor of this week and efforts to raise awareness about farm safety, we're happy to share an excerpt from article in the most recent issue of Missouri Farmer Today titled Ensuring Youth Safety on the Modern Farm.
The article was written by MFT staff writer Ben Herrold and highlights 17 year old Jack Lang of Boonville, Mo.
He (Lang) is at home in the combine, comfortably and confidently piloting it across the field, rows of corn shuddering and disappearing before it.
Farm safety experts say as agriculture becomes larger and more mechanized, it presents challenges and opportunities for youth farm safety efforts.
Lang has seen this firsthand, noting the differences between the combine he was driving and older models he has been around, especially with maintenance.
“They can be lower maintenance,” Lang says of the newer combines.
“There’s less of you being inside the machine. The engineers that design these combines make them easier to work on and do maintenance on.”
Learning to be safe around modern farm equipment has been a lifelong process for Lang, who grew up on the family farm, where they grow corn, soybeans, winter wheat and raise Black Angus.
But, even for kids who live, work and play where farm work is happening, Lang says one key is having parents who know what tasks their kids can and cannot handle on the modern farm.
Some of the places Lang said that he's learned about farm safety outside his family farm including his high school FFA program and field days at University of Missouri research farms. To learn more about those events, visit MU's College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources online at cafnr.missouri.edu.