Farming – The Most Dangerous Job In The World.

American farmers are spending most of their day in the field, especially this time of year. Harvesting time is a busy period in a farmer’s life. This is the season that rewards the farmer for his green thumb and his months of hard work. Harvest time isn’t always about reaping the benefits; there are many risks that come along with it.

As the famer gives a big portion of his day to the crops, he makes himself more vulnerable to stress, pressure, fatigue and even the risk of injury.

It’s not that unusual to hear about farmers losing their life or getting seriously injured in a agriculture-related incident. Farmers agree that such mishaps can happen so quickly, the victim hardly gets time to react.

With increased production demands, the deadline for farmers is becoming tougher to achieve. Farmers are having to work harder and longer to meet these demands, putting them at an increased risk for an accident.

Deadly Statistics

  • Out of 335,000 annual workplace deaths, more than 50% are agricultural, reports International Labor Organization.
  • In the United States, agriculture continues ranking first as the deadliest industry in America.
  • Another study reveled that one-third of workplace fatalities reported in Iowa between 2001 and 2011 were agricultural.
  • Between 1991 and 2011, there have been more than 340 deaths and nearly 5,000 hospitalizations reported in Saskatchewan only.
  • Canadian fatalities related to agriculture amounted to 1,975 between 1990 and 2008. About 70% of these casualties were related to machinery.
  • Hundreds of Kenyan farmers die every year because of fungus and toxic fumes while Swedish fall victim to livestock accidents.
  • The causes among these deaths were found to be tractor rollovers, deadly fumes, electrocution, cattle rollovers, grain suffocation, and heatstroke. But tractors are by far the leading cause of deaths.

In The End
Farming accidents are something that hit the local farming community hard. But the issue is rarely discussed outside of those farming communities, but it has managed to draw some attention over the past few years.

More and more equipment is being equipped with safety devices; grain bins are now being equipped with harnesses and tractors with ROPS (roll-over protection system) and dead-man switches. Events are being held to give farmers a heads-up, safety lectures are being delivered and voluntary health inspection and farm audits are being carried out.

Maintaining safety during harvest is vital, but it can be challenging nonetheless. According to statisticians and researchers, this is the time where most deaths and injuries occur. They believe that staying sharp and attentive holds the key to fast, efficient and most importantly a safe harvest.

Farmers are advised to stay alert, avoid loose clothing, avoid dehydration, maintain a healthy diet, use machinery with utmost precaution, complete routine maintenance on implements, get enough sleep, and most importantly, stay sharp.

And please remember to share the road with farmers this harvest season!

This post brought to you by AECO Agriculture.

Celebrate National Ag Today!

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Take some time today to stop and think about where your food comes from and all the hard work that goes into growing it and getting it to your plate! Farmers are not only feeding you but are putting the clothes on your back. You’d be surprised what items are made from products grown or raised by farmers.

So remember to thank a farmer and celebrate ag!

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So God Made a Farmer’s Wife.

Everyone probably remembers last year Ram Truck Super Bowl commercial, ‘Year of the Farmer’. It featured Paul Harvey’s 1978 speech at the FFA Convention. This was the first commercial to really put farmers and agriculture in the spotlight, especially since it was aired during the Super Bowl. It’s nice to see commercials like this since so many are negative or misleading towards farmers. Paul Harvey’s speech inspired me to write my own version. I decided to share it today, Super Bowl Sunday, one year since the commercial aired.

So God Made a Farmer’s Wife.

And on the 9th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “The farmer needs a caretaker”. So God made a farmer’s wife.

God said, “I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, feed the farmer, work all day in town, come home to work alongside her farmer, make supper, and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board”. So God made a farmer’s wife.

“I need somebody with arms strong enough to keep up with the farmer yet gentle enough to cuddle a newborn baby. Somebody to run for parts, help in the fields, move trucks, deliver meals, look the farmer in the eyes and tell him ‘I love you and the life we’ve built’ – and mean it”. So God made a farmer’s wife.

God said, “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with their newborn baby. And raise him right. I need somebody who can use a wrench and know where to find it, doesn’t mind getting dirty, who can remove stains, and keep a house clean. And who, planting time and harvest season, will finish her forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, then, pain’n from her town job, taking care of the kids, and fieldwork, put in another seventy-two hours”. So God made a farmer’s wife.

God had to have somebody willing to cancel appointments and change plans and be ready in a minutes notice and yet will never stop and complain about this way of life. So God made a farmer’s wife.

God said, “I need somebody strong enough to clean out bins and throw bales, yet gentle enough to raise kids and bottle feed calves and tend to the house, who will drive the tractor and pray to God about the weather. It had to be somebody who’d be able to handle the house and field work and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed and wash and dry and cook and clean and remember scheduled events and feed the farmer and stock the cupboards and finish a hard week’s work with a five-mile drive to church.

“Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when her daughter says she wants to spend her life ‘doing what mom does.'” So God made a farmer wife’s.

This is dedicated to all farm wives, fiancees, girlfriends – to all farm women.

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Disclosure: This was inspired by Paul Harvey’s speech, some wording is the same.

My thoughts on GMOs, fertilizer, organic foods, antibiotic use, and other controversial ag topics.

Now I don’t claim to be a expert on any of these topics, but I know enough to have an opinion. Growing up I’m sure we all heard ‘eat what’s on the table, or don’t eat at all’ maybe you even tell your kids that now. Well that’s what I’m telling you. Eat what’s on the table, or don’t eat at all. Farmers are doing their best, using the latest technology, to feed everyone, everywhere. You may go to the grocery store and buy your food, even bring it home and cook it, but I hate to burst your pretty little organic, vegan, antibiotic-free, GMO-hating bubble – WE grow it and without US you would not have food. Period.

If you want GMO-free, organic corn from a no-till field, have at it! Nobody’s stopping you. Go out and buy your OWN equipment and land. If you feel you can do better, do it yourself. I don’t know if you know it, but land and tractors cost a little more than your Prius. We don’t need to change the way we’ve done things for years to accommodate to you. Worry about yourself and the food you eat, not what the rest of the world is eating. Plenty of people are completely happy eating the food we provide. There are regulations in order to make sure the crops are nutritionally safe. GMOs, fertilizers, antibiotics are used because they need to be in order to provide enough food and are used in a safe manner. So if you’re not happy with what we’re working hard to put on your plate, grow it yourself. We’re not forcing you to eat what we grow. Yes, you have the right to your own opinion and to eat what you want. But you also have the right to grow your own food.

So you’re the consumer, you should have a say in what food is grown to feed you? True. But when the food is completely safe and nutritional, you don’t have a right to force your opinions and beliefs onto everyone else. You can eat organic food, be vegan or Paleo, or GMO-free, I don’t care that’s your choice. There are plenty of those options available. So take what you can get, and be happy!

It has to do with a lot more than food also. Corn and soybeans are used for so much more than human food, and farmers have to fill that demand too. There are many uses you might not even know about. For instance, corn is used in: penicillin, ethanol, starch, whiskey, oil, glue, plastic, batteries, diapers, matches, textiles, dyes, crayons, drywall, varnish, spark plugs, toothpaste, aspirin, tires, livestock feed, and so much more. Soybeans are used for biodiesel, ink, lubricants, crayons, foam, animal feed, adhesives, carpet, upholstery, varnish, lacquer, oil, flooring tiles, cleaners, and again so much more. GMOs and fertilizer help farmers to get the most of their crop, so they are able to provide the most that they can each year.

Livestock and antibiotic use is another hot topic. Just like humans do when they are sick, farmers treat sick animals with antibiotics. Without antibiotics animals would die from illness and spread it to the other ones around them. There are regulations on the use of antibiotics for livestock. Livestock cannot be sent for slaughter for a certain time period after they have received an antibiotic, once the time period has passed they are back to normal and healthy to consume.

And don’t get me started on anti-factory farming activists. 96% of farms are owned and operated by families. Factory farming is family farming.  ‘Factory farms’ is just a big scary word that activists like PETA have made up to make farmers look bad in the media. Most farmers don’t abuse their livestock, they take care of them, respect them, and treat them humanely. Occasionally, there are cases of abuse. And those people are worthless scum. I get that. But let me put this in perspective for you: There are some awful, worthless parents that abuse there children. But that doesn’t mean all parents abuse their children and we don’t treat all parents like they abuse their children. So why act like all farmers abuse there livestock?

For some people the problem is more about the equipment then the crops themselves. They are worried about emissions, diesel exhaust, our carbon footprint, erosion, and the ozone. I get that these are legitimate concerns, but farm equipment is not the only things that pollutes the air and many people besides farmers are far more detrimental to the environment. Erosion over the years has been greatly improved. Tractors, semis, and diesel trucks have emission equipment on them, they have been greatly restricted and produce much less emissions to harm the environment. Farmers use much less fertilizers these days, and the formula is safer. All other chemical are in their current safest form and scientist are constantly working to make them safer.

I think everyone needs to remember farmers are doing their best. We aren’t out to get you, we aren’t trying to harm you, we’re just trying to provide you with food (and many other things).

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What Growing Up in a Small Town Taught Me.

Growing up (and living) in the country outside of small towns has taught me a lot over the years. This is a list of the top things you learn growing up in a small town.

How to be neighborly. We learned to show everyone respect, especially our elders. People know they can call anytime and you’ll be there to help (and vise versa). We’ll give you the shirt off our backs and not expect anything in return. And of course when we pass you on the road we’ll wave.

How to drive (on gravel roads). If you live in the country I guarantee you’ve been stuck behind that car going 20mph down the middle of the road. Well we learned long ago (usually before we we’re 14) how to drive on gravel. You better stick to your side of the road when going over hills and be alert because there might be a slow moving tractor on the other side. In general, I think small town folks are better drivers. Maybe it’s because we learned sooner. Or maybe because we have to drive everywhere (no subway or walking-distance around here). Maybe it’s because life moves a little slower around here. Ever been to a big city? People can’t drive.

Give farm equipment and semis the right of way. AKA share the road and use your head. Semis can’t stop on a dime. I see this all the time during harvest time, people pulling out in front of us. More than once there have been close calls. A semi hauling 80,000lbs. of corn can’t just slam on the breaks and stop – so use you’re head because it’s semi vs. your car – you’re not going to win. Tractors can’t go 55mph and they take up the road. Slow down and pass them when it’s safe. When passing by get as far over on your side as you can. Remember we’re working all day to get food on your plate and clothes on your back.

How to live off the land. One of the first things we learned growing up was how to plant a garden – to grow our own groceries. We learn to grow gardens, crops, hogs, cattle, and chickens. We can plant, grow, harvest, and cook. We can do all this with our own two hands.

That doesn’t stink, it smells like money. A lot of people complain about the smell of manure. In fact because of that, there are many rules and regulations on where hog buildings, etc. can be built. But us country folks know that it doesn’t stink, that’s our income. Whether it be from the hog building, turkey farm, cattle ranch or the fertilizer on the field – it’s an important part of growing and raising the food that feeds everyone.

Hardwork and dedication. From the time we were able to walk and talk we were given chores. You have to pull your weight around here. You don’t know what hard work is until you’ve bailed and stacked hay on a hot summer day. Growing up with animals (or gardens) you learn dedication. You have to feed them, water them, clean them. You have to work with them daily. This instilled at a young age make us more passionate and dedicated to our future. School, jobs, animals, relationship, agriculture, hobbies, activities – the list is endless.

News travels fast. You always had to think before you acted. Whatever you did someone would see it or find out and everyone would know before you got home. Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing! It kept us in line (or tried). Also, if you we’re down on your luck, in bad heath, etc. people would bond together to help you out. Whether it be lending a hand, bringing you a hot meal, finishing harvest for a farmer who died, or just a friendly phone call.

It’s home. No matter how far you travel or where life takes you, you can always come back. You’ll be greeted with the same smiles, waves, and hellos as before. This closeness shows you the true meaning of community. In a small town you are able to build friendships and relationships that will last a lifetime.

I couldn’t have picked a better place to grow up. There are some values and principles you just can’t learn anywhere else but in a small town. Here’s to faith, family, friends, food, farming, and small town living.

Did you grow up in a small town or a big city? What values do you think you were instilled with because of this?

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Iowa Ag Facts.

Here’s just a fun post highlighting facts about Iowa agriculture.

    • Iowa ranks first in the nation in corn, soybean, pork, and chicken egg production (2010).
    • Iowa pork producers raise 28% of all U.S. pork.
    • Iowa has 92,400 farms. Farm land covers 30.8 million acres.
    • The average size of an Iowa farm is around 333 acres (as of 2008). One acre is about the size of a football field without its end zones.
    • Iowa has at least 11,000 different soils that make up some of the richest, most productive land in the world.
    • Iowa’s 40 ethanol plants have a combined annual capacity of 3.7 billion gallons of ethanol annually, more per year than any other state. Iowa produces nearly 30 percent of the nation’s ethanol. Studies show without ethanol, Americans would pay 20 to 40 cents more per gallon of gasoline.
    • Iowa produces the second most wind energy in the nation, helping generate enough electricity to power several hundred thousand homes each year.
    • Iowa raised more than 2.15 billion bushels of corn in 2010, or 17 percent of the total U.S. corn crop.
    • Iowa raised more than 496 million bushels of soybeans in 2010, or 15 percent of the nation’s total crop.
    • Iowa has 6 hogs for every person in the state. There are nearly 19 million hogs being raised in Iowa. Iowa producers marketed nearly 30 million hogs in 2010.
    • Iowa is ranked second in the nation in red meat production. Iowa ranks fourth in the United States for cattle on feed. As of January 2011, Iowa had 1.38 million cattle on feed.
    • There was an average of 209,000 milk cows on Iowa farms during 2010. A cow will produce an average of 6.3 gallons of milk each day. That’s more than 2,300 gallons each year.
    • Iowa ranked seventh in the United States for turkeys marketed with 13.2 million turkeys in 2010.
    • Iowa’s total cash receipts for farm commodities in 2010 totaled more than $23 billion – the second highest in the United States.
    • Iowa’s total agricultural exports for fiscal year 2010 were valued at more than $7 billion, ranking Iowa second in the nation in agricultural exports.
    • Livestock consume 400 million bushels of Iowa-grown corn annually.
    • Iowa’s climate is ideal for growing crops. Hot summers help plants grow and cold winters help the soil replenish itself.
Facts from Iowa Farm Bureau and Geisler Farms: Growing Family Fun.

What are some interesting ag facts about where you are from?

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Agvocates – helping or hurting the industry?

Yesterday on a fellow blogger’s Facebook page, The Farmer’s Wifee, she brought up this question. She stated that during the last week or so she had heard from several sources that ‘agvocates’ are doing more harm than good. My response to this question is as follows:

As a fellow agvocate I feel we are important, but I can see how sometimes we hurt the industries. We need to let people know the facts, we need to support ag, and we need to support each other. Instead of posts bashing Carrie Underwood, HSUS, Peta, etc. we need to have post with facts & reliable sources to back us up showing that they are doing the harm. We want people to listen to us but we can not force them. It’s OK if someone likes Carrie Underwood, we don’t need to attack them. Because seriously Carrie Underwood is not that great of a threat to the ag industry. Yes, she donated money to HSUS, but still. I’m using CU because this has been a hot topic lately, or at least on my feeds. And sometimes we have to realize someone is going to have their opinion and we aren’t going to change it no matter how much we yell, scream, stomp our feet, or type. Because I see it a lot – bloggers acting like 2 year olds demanding everyone agree with their opinion. I know many people have poor attitudes and opinions towards agriculture and we just need to do the best we can to inform the public about the truth and importance of agriculture. Mainly, we just need to stay professional.

How do you feel about this question and my answer? How do you feel about agvocates? And as she asked on her blog; How are we doing? Have you learned anything from us? Have we taught you anything? Have we changed your minds on anything? Do we show a positive face to agriculture? I would love to hear from anyone and everyone about their point of view of the issues facing agriculture, including agvocates.