5 October, 2008 - Fall Harvest, Think Safety

Stand by for a profound statement. Stress is bad! As a matter of fact, stress is very bad! I need to talk about stress this week because this year, it seems, there has been more than enough stress to go around, whether you are in agricultural production or any other industry. The last several months the stress in the financial markets has taken its toll on a lot of people; the stress of weather, floods and hurricanes delayed planting, destroyed crops and now is delaying harvest and that is adding to the stress load of America’s agricultural producers.

So let me spend just a few words on my annual Safety Sermon at harvest time. This year particularly, I am worried because I know the stress level is already high and I can hear you talking; “The killing freeze will come before the crop matures. That means that every day of good harvest weather I’m going to have to be in the combine cab 24/7 to get it all done before bad weather moves in. I can’t afford to lose any more of the crop than I have lost from down corn because of the hurricane winds or the late planting because of the Spring floods.”

Let me come back to a point I have made many times over the years, and I still think it is true. I think that probably the best 20 minutes you can spend in a day during harvest time is sitting in that combine cab or tractor cab, taking a nap. I am a great believer in naps; as a matter of fact, I am a “power napper”. I can go to sleep instantly any time, any where; sleep five or ten minutes and wake up with batteries recharged and again mentally alert. That is what I suggest you need to do this harvest time, because stress produces fatigue and fatigue produces carelessness. Carelessness can lead to an accident that could maim you for life or even take your life. I know we all think that accidents always happen to somebody else, never me. But I’ve heard from too many widows or accident victims who learned the hard way that’s just not true.

So you need to give a lot of thought to your spouse and your children, as well as your friends. They don’t want you to leave them. We don’t want you to leave us. Take that 20-minute nap, lower your stress level, refresh your body and your mind and think “safety” every minute of your harvest day and then act safely.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.