Agricultural Safety Awareness Week kicks off today and runs through Saturday.
The week and its theme of "Agricultural Safety: Your Best Investment" are designed to make safety a top priority during spring planting season.
"It's important to take the time to do farm tasks in a safe manner. Each one of us can make a difference in the health and safety of loved ones and employees on the farm," said Blake Roderick, executive director of the Pike and Scott County Farm Bureaus. "The physical, emotional and financial consequences of a serious safety incident on the farm and ranch are well-documented. Investing time in advance to ensure safety recommendations are followed can prevent many incidents."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
º Every day, 243 agricultural workers suffer lost-work-time injury. Five percent of these injuries result in permanent impairment.
º Approximately 1,783,000 full-time workers were employed in production agriculture in the U.S. in 2009. During this same year, 440 farmers and farm workers died from a work-related injury for a fatality rate of 24.7 deaths per 100,000 acres.
º Although the total number of youth fatalities on farms and ranches is declining, according to industry experts, when fatal injuries do occur among youth on farms, 23 percent involved machinery including tractors, 19 percent involved motor vehicles including ATVs and 1 percent were due to drowning.
Farm Bureaus across the nation have committed to making safety a top priority this spring through the Agricultural Safety Awareness Program. More information is available online at agsafetynow.com.
March also is Illinois Farming Month when "city cousins" are asked to join in celebrating Illinois agriculture and its focus on the future.
"Thinking about tomorrow is part of the job," said Pike County Farm Bureau President David Gay of New Canton. "Each day, I look at how I farm and try to find a better way of doing things. I look back at how things were when I started farming, and I'm amazed at the improvements we've made."
Improvements farmers are making every day are featured in videos available online at watchusgrow.org.