The week of February 28th through March 6th is American Farm Bureau Federation’s 2021 Ag Safety Awareness Program Week. It’s a week dedicated to bringing awareness to safety and health issues that face the agriculture industry. The theme of this safety week is “Driving Safety Home”. You can join the movement by posting on social media using #ASAP21, #KeepFarmsSafe, or #DrivingSafetyHome. Throughout the week they will focus on several different safety topics.
Farmer Roadway Safety
As farmers begin planting this spring, the likelihood of farm vehicle crashes increases. Farmers remember to mark your equipment with a Slow-moving Vehicle emblem and outline your vehicle with reflective marking on the widest points. It’s also a good idea to drive with your equipment lights on, even in daytime. Motorists, please remember to be patient with slower-moving farm machinery and only pass when it is safe to do so.
Caring for aging or ill family members is a role people in rural areas typically take on with little formal training, and often on short notice. Being a caretaker is important but can be isolating. Consider offering a word of encouragement to the caretaker in a rural or farm family. This small gesture can brighten someone’s day and make a real difference.
General Farmer Wellness
Just because you are busy on the farm, doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your nutrition. You can still choose healthy options to eat, even from the tractor seat. Try these simple steps to help you stay healthy during a busy planting season:
Often times for farmers stress is a way of life, because they depend on many factors beyond their control for a successful season. Things like weather, commodity prices, availability of labor, trade markets and more. A new survey from the American Farm Bureau found that more than half of rural adults and farmers/farmworkers say they are personally experiencing more mental health challenges than they were a year ago. Two in three farmers/farmworkers say the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their mental health, and two in three have experienced feeling nervous, anxious or on edge during the pandemic.
There are some warning signs you may recognize if your loved ones, neighbors or someone else you care about is experiencing some mental health challenges. Things like changes in routine, social activities, decline in appearance of the farm or the care of domestic animals, increase in farm accidents, increase in illnesses or other chronic conditions, or decreased interest in activities or events may all be signs of someone suffering from a mental health challenge.
If you think someone you know is going through something there are ways you can reach out them, even if it means you may have to step out of your comfort zone. Try reminding them of something they’ve said about what’s concerning them and show your interest. Acknowledge what they’re going through, share something you’ve seen change. Remember if you are concerned, don’t wait for them to ask for help. Instead offer to help connect them to some resources that re available for support. Remember to show genuine care, empathy and listen. Visit the Farm State of Mind website for more information.
Community Roadway Safety
You can help drive safety home by following safe driving rules while behind the wheel. Remember, don’t text and drive or be distracted while operating a vehicle. This is even more important because this spring farmers will be on the road with tractors and slower-moving equipment. Driving distracted could put you and your fellow farmer at risk.
For more information about Ag Safety Awareness Program Week visit https://www.fb.org/events/2021-ag-safety-awareness-program-week/
Content provided by American Farm Bureau Federation