RICHMOND — Farm safety negligence was considered an unpatriotic act during wartime.
As WWII raged in 1943, Minnesota Cooperative Extension agent George M. Gehant wrote that the energy and resources lost to treat injured farmers could be “used to good advantage producing food, fiber and fats and other materials needed by the boys in our fighting forces. So, safety practices on the farm can contribute materially to the war effort in many ways.”
President Franklin D. Roosevelt also believed in the importance of farm safety, so he proclaimed the third week of September as National Farm Safety and Health Week. This annual observance has been deemed as such by each U.S. president since 1944.
“Every Farmer Counts” is the theme for 2020 National Farm Safety and Health Week, Sept. 20-26, led by the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety, the agricultural partner of the National Safety Council.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018 data indicates that the agricultural sector is still the most dangerous in America with 574 fatalities, which equates to 23.4 deaths per 100,000 workers. Fall harvest time can be one of the busiest and most dangerous seasons of the year for the agriculture industry.
Virginia Farm Bureau Federation provides safety resources to farmers that address farm hazards, accident response, mental health and rural road and vehicle safety.
“The Virginia Farm Bureau Safety Advisory Committee really is committed to trying to resolve the issues that relate to farm safety in Virginia, and farmers’ health as well,” said Dana Fisher, VFBF senior field district services director.
“Every Farmer Counts” is intended to remind the agricultural community and the public that it is in everyone’s best interest to prioritize the health and safety of those who work to provide our abundant supply of food, fiber and fuel. Daily topics of focus are: tractor safety and rural roadway safety; overall farmer health; safety and health of youth in agriculture; emergency preparedness in agriculture; and safety and health of women in agriculture.
The Virginian Review has been serving Covington, Clifton Forge, Alleghany County and Bath County since 1914.