Harvest is here, that means farmers are already moving equipment on roads, harvesting their crop, and hauling it to elevators. Over the next few weeks and months they’ll be working longer hours—starting their days before sunrise without resting until long after sunset. The pressure to keep going can be intense and can lead to accidents, injuries and even death.
This season COUNTRY Financial® is urging farmers to take extra caution when out on the road or in their fields and to keep a close watch on their health. The number of accidents and deaths are disturbing, however much can be done to curb them.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) the leading sources of youth ag-related deaths include:
· Machinery - 23 percent
· Motor vehicles (including ATV’s) - 19 percent
· Drowning - 16 percent
“Farmers are always anxious to get their crops out. They work on tight deadlines, are often up against poor weather and numerous other setbacks. It can be frustrating—but they need to remember to take care of themselves,” said Eric Vanasdale, senior loss control representative at COUNTRY Financial. “Accidents happen when we’re tired, distracted, stressed and rushed.”
Easy tips for farmers
1. Maintain your equipment. Most farm accidents and deaths involve machinery. Make sure your equipment is maintained according to the manufacturers’ recommendations.
2. Avoid driving machinery on roads at dawn and dusk. Most accidents happen during these times of day. The morning and afternoon/evening hours are also peak commuting times for drivers heading to and from work which only increases the chances of accidents.
3. Tell family and helping hands where you’ll be working and when. Let others know where you are. Also, have a cell phone or two-way radio on you at all times in case of emergencies or accidents. Keep your electronics charged and on the ready. Plan to communicate at set times of the day to ensure everyone is safe and okay.
4. Get plenty of rest and take frequent breaks. Drink plenty of fluids frequently and have healthy snacks on hand to keep your energy levels up. Accidents are more likely to happen once fatigue sets in.
5. Familiarize yourself with how your prescriptions and over the counter medications affect reaction time. Some medications and machinery don’t mix. Consult your doctor if your medications make you feel drowsy or impair your ability to safely operate your equipment.
6. Know your limitations. Don’t push your mind and body past safe, healthy limits. Know when to stop for the day and when to stay in bed if you feel sick.
7. Keep combines and tractors clean and lubricated. Avoid fires by cleaning off your equipment each day and following the manufacturer’s lubrication schedule.
“Farmers should make safety a priority,” said Vanasdale. “Make sure to follow maintenance schedules, don’t take shortcuts if equipment breaks down, and make sure your equipment is visible on the road. Check your lights, slow-moving vehicle emblems and reflective tape, ensuring they’re more visible to other drivers.”
Medical students looking for help with recommendations or financial support are encouraged to apply to the Rural Illinois Medical Student Assistance Program (RIMSAP). Established by the Illinois State Medical Society and the Illinois Farm Bureau, RIMSAP aims to increase the number of rural primary care physicians in Illinois.
“There’s an uneven distribution of doctors in rural areas versus urban areas,” said Donna Gallivan, manager, RIMSAP. “And that’s really why Illinois Farm Bureau began partnering with the Illinois State Medical Society – to get doctors in the places needed most. Since the program began in 1948, RIMSAP has helped more than 800 medical students obtain a medical degree while placing qualified doctors in Illinois’ rural communities.”
Interested students must have a grade point average no lower than 3.5 on a 5-point scale and may apply for recommendations for entry to the University of Illinois College of Medicine. Additionally, nontraditional students who have competed their undergraduate degree also are welcome to apply. Once accepted into medical school, RIMSAP students are eligible for educational loans up to $50,000 at a 4 percent interest rate for the four years of medical school.
In exchange for recommendation or financial assistance provided by RIMSAP, students agree to specialize in family practice or another primary health care field such as internal medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics, OB-GYN, psychiatry, general surgery, emergency medicine, orthopedic surgery, pediatrics, or anesthesiology, and agree to establish a practice in an approved rural Illinois community for at least five years.
“This program works to meet needs of interested students who may not be able to find assistance following more traditional paths,” Gallivan said. “In the end, it’s a win-win for everyone involved. Talented medical students get the help they need to complete school, and rural Illinois communities are able to attract the general practice doctors necessary to care for and grow the community.”
RIMSAP applicants must be Illinois residents and must file their application by Nov. 1, 2017 to be considered for the 2018 freshman class. Applicants also must complete the required American Medical College Admission Service forms, and mail them by Oct. 1, 2017 to be on record with the University of Illinois College of Medicine.
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Due to a citrus tree disease known as Greening and damage caused by the recent hurricanes, the citrus crops in Florida have been hit hard this year. Along with the increase in cost, decline in orders in past years, and the disappointing quality of fruit last year, the Winnebago-Boone Farm Bureau® will NOT be offering citrus this year. We greatly appreciate all of our members that have helped make our citrus program a success over the years. However, we will continue to hold our Holiday Nuts & More sale again this year. All orders are due by Friday, October 27th. Order Form
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