A Letter to Brian

My Friend Died in a Grain Bin: Let Him Be the Last

Farm safety is a full-time job. With this heartfelt letter to his friend, Sean Arians issues a plea to all farmers to slow down and farm safe. (DTN/Progressive Farmer photo by Pamela Smith)

Editor's Note: Brian Satorius farmed in Menard County, Illinois, with his wife, Brianne, and two children. Brian lost his life in a grain bin accident on Aug. 20, 2021. He served his community through the church, as Farm Bureau county president and through the Illinois Ag Leadership Program and traveled the world with his career as an engineer for TeeJet.

The loss was shocking to many, and in the following letter to his friend, Sean Arians, a northwestern Illinois farmer and grower direct business lead for Advanced Agrilytics, talks about that day and those following. His letter to his friend is also a call to fellow farmers to not forget the lessons learned from this tragedy and let it serve as a poignant reminder to farm safe.


Aug. 20, 2021

Dear Friend,

I can't forget that moment. I finished a conference call for work, checked my phone, and in an instant through a text, you were gone. The next hours and days were spent wrestling with the emotions of sadness, frustration and confusion. The immediate question of, why you? Your impact through your career, involvement in Farm Bureau and Ag Leadership, your community, and your church was something many strive for in a longer lifetime than you had, yet never achieve. You gave everyone time, and then filled that time with memories; memories worth shedding tears and feelings over.

The sadness I felt for your wife, kids, extended family, and the many friends you impacted through your involvements, including me, made my heart and stomach hurt.

Scenes from "Silo," the movie, flashed through my mind. Knowing the industry has done so much work to educate people about the dangers of farming and grain bin safety, yet accidents still happen. When the Grain Handling Safety Coalition (https://grainsafety.org/…) started in 2010, I volunteered to help the coalition get started to help raise awareness. It's a sad reality of our vocation. We all get in a hurry and say, "We do it all the time!"

That's where the frustration came in. We all get in a hurry and think, "It won't happen to me." It's hard for me, that you became an example that it takes just one time. That "one time" can mean we don't make it home to our loving family and meaningful friends and communities. I'm guilty of it. Heck, we all are. We all think we can outsmart the situation -- until we can't.

The confusion of why you?! Why on earth is a guy who has made a huge impact in so many people's lives the one who goes too soon? Why you? Why that day?

While your community of many may never know the answers to these questions, we all need to remember it could happen to any one of us. We all think the scenes from "Silo," the movie, are just a movie. As so many learned firsthand that afternoon of Aug. 20, they're not.

Brian -- you were a phenomenal individual who impacted many people and left a mark on our hearts. Know your family is surrounded by a community of people who are striving to live up to your standards of giving unto others.

Thank you for giving so much to others in your short time here. It is my hope and prayer that the loss we feel is a reminder that life is fragile, and that farming can be dangerous. Also, that friends and neighbors stop and think twice about our actions on the farm, if only in memorial and honor of your life that ended far too soon.

Rest In Peace,

Sean Arians


For more DTN articles on farm safety, go to:

-- "Pay Attention to Grain Bin Safety," https://www.dtnpf.com/…

-- "MachineryLink: 'SILO' Movie Vividly Illustrates Danger of Grain Entrapment," https://www.dtnpf.com/…

-- "Large Grain Bins Require Caution," https://www.dtnpf.com/…

-- "Farm Safety Tips for Using Fuel," https://www.dtnpf.com/…

-- "Farm Safety Tips When Working Alone," https://www.dtnpf.com/…