Machinery Chatter

Error in Judgment

By Jim Patrico , Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Thousands of children have attended Progressive Farm Safety Days to learn how to avoid accidents. Think about having your kids attend. (Photo courtesy Progressive Farm Safety Days)

We learn from our mistakes. Recently, we at The Progressive Farmer committed an error in judgment by publishing a photograph of two young girls riding in the cab of a moving combine. (February 2014) One girl was leaning against the windshield as her grandmother drove through the field.

It was a cute picture, which illustrated the strong bonds farm kids enjoy with their family. We thought it also showed the value of having kids participate in the hard work and camaraderie that is the core of farm life.

Our error was that the children were potentially in danger. Readers wrote to tell us about a five-year-old Kansas girl who died last fall when the combine windshield against which she was leaning broke and she fell to her death. The possibility of such a tragedy never occurred to us when we ran that photo.

It was my photo and the decision to publish it has bothered me ever since.

The day I took the photo, I was sitting in the trainer seat next to the driver as I have done dozens of times. I also have sat on the floor and leaned against the windshield to get a different angle on the driver. I won't do that again.

The important lesson I learned is that seat belts on passenger seats in combines and tractors are there for a reason. Use them; don't go wandering around the cab. And think twice before taking children on rides, no matter how safe it seems.

The Progressive Farmer has long championed farm safety, especially for children. That is why 19 years ago we started the Progressive Agriculture Farm Safety Day program, of which we remain a proud sponsor. Check out a Safety Day program in your area and plan to attend this summer or fall. For information on dates and places near you, go to…

At harvest season, we ask you to remember that farming is a dangerous business for adults and children.


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