When I was teenager, I was recruited by my dad and uncle to help clean out corn and soybeans from grain storage structures they had on our farm. We had one newer, metal grain bin and an old wooden crib with bins on each side of the building.
I can remember that first year in the bin helping them to scoop corn toward the unloading auger. Even as a young person, I remember thinking to myself "that thing is completely uncovered, that doesn't seem safe."
But considering we didn't have an unloading auger at all in the corn crib (we just had to scoop all of the grain towards the hole at the bottom of the inside wall) the open unloading auger seemed like a great technological advance.
So I didn't complain at all.
Unfortunately, many farmers have been injured and even killed working in and around grain bins. While technology and safety features are available on newer bins, many older bins are still in use which don't have these safer products.
A new program in Minnesota is being offered to encourage farmers to make important safety upgrades to their grain bins. Those who want to add safety equipment to their on-farm grain storage facilities can now apply for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture's (MDA) new Grain Storage Facility Safety Cost-Share program, according to The Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH).
The program reimburses up to 75% of the cost to buy, ship and install eligible safety equipment for on-farm grain bins or silos. Farmers can receive up to $400 per bin or silo with a limit of $2,400 per farm per year.
The Minnesota Legislature appropriated $50,000 for this new program earlier this year.
"We've seen many tragedies in the recent past around grain bin accidents and I can tell you each one is devastating to a family and a whole community," said Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen. "We're thankful to legislators for allowing us to help farmers reduce the cost of reducing risk on the farm."
Examples of eligible equipment include fall protection systems, engineering controls that prevent contact with an auger of other moving parts and dust collection systems that minimize explosion hazards.
Other possible equipment includes personal protective equipment that increases the likelihood of surviving a grain bin-related emergency, grain silo air quality monitoring equipment and other grain storage facility safety equipment with prior approval from the MDA.
The MDA is accepting applications through June 30, 2021, or until all funds are exhausted. Funds will be awarded on a farm-come, first-served basis.
To see more on UMASH, go to http://umash.umn.edu/….
For more information on the program and to apply, go to https://www.mda.state.mn.us/….
To read the entire MDA grain bind cost share press release from UMASH, go to http://umash.umn.edu/….
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