When I started in this writing business, I was warned about writing farm safety articles that warned farmers of everyday hazards.
No one reads safety pieces. Wasted space. Boring.
I recall standing in the magazine office where I worked with florescent lights flickering above as a long-ago editor/boss shot down a safety-related article idea I had proposed. His response: "Safety isn't sexy."
Back then, readership numbers ruled. Today, clicks and engagement and other terms measure what people read or don't read. Sadly, it is true that safety articles often don't gather the "eyeballs" of other topics. Readers know farming is dangerous. Reading about it can be painful and, often, we don't want to be reminded.
National Farm Safety and Health Week gives us a news peg this week. There will be a flurry of writing about all kinds of potential hazards and how to avoid them.
Among them is a heartfelt plea from farmer and agribusiness leader Sean Arians that reminds us why we write about safety https://www.dtnpf.com/…. When Brian Satorius perished in a grain bin in August 2021, Arians lost a special friend. Brian's family lost a father, a husband, a son, a brother. Agriculture lost a leader and advocate.
One line in Arians' article struck me hard: "We all think we can outsmart the situation -- until we can't."
I grew up surrounded by painful reminders of this truth. A farming neighbor died trying to save his brother from electrocution at a bin site. A kid I knew lost part of a leg in a PTO incident. My grandfather was involved in a tractor rollover. Two childhood friends drowned. A jump from a truck and a wedding ring nearly removed my father's finger. Dad's leg was shattered in a fall from a grain bin. I narrowly escaped an incident in high school involving manure gas in the hog house. I even know a kid that got pinged in the eye with a green apple shot from a slingshot. Sadly, I could go on ... and on.
So here I am pleading like my mother admonishing the proverbial warning "Don't run with scissors!" There are real reasons we write these farm safety articles because, sadly, lots of stuff happens.
While I'm shaking my motherly finger, don't forget to eat right, drink water, get some sleep and exercise. Protect your skin and ears. Think of your body as the most valuable tool on the farm -- are you giving it the same respect as the farm equipment?
Progressive Farmer and DTN has a long history of supporting efforts to educate children about farm safety through the Progressive Agriculture Safety Foundation and safety day camps. Learn more about that at https://www.progressiveag.org/….
Read more DTN articles about farm safety:
-- Bring Safety Home
-- Farm Safety is a Full-time Job
Pamela Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow her on Twitter @PamSmithDTN
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