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10 June 2012 - Let’s Work on Farm Safety for Kids

Farm and ranch families were pleased earlier this Spring when the Labor Department announced it would withdraw its proposed rule changes dealing with family child labor on farms and ranches. I applauded the decision as well because some of the proposed rules were simply not workable and really took away the family farm concept that is part of American agriculture.

But now, while we are pleased with that, we must remember that farms and ranches are dangerous places and we, as farm people, must do everything we can to make them safer for children as well as for adults. That is our responsibility.

The opportunity to educate young people happens across the country every summer. It came to my attention when I received a publication from a Midwest County Farm Bureau with the front page headline, “Farm Safety Stressed at Camp for Kids.” It reminded me that there are Farm Safety Camps staged all across the country during this time of year to acquaint young people with the hazzards that are out there on farms and ranches.

The entire purpose of the camp is to help rural children recognize the potential dangers present around the farm and develop respect for those hazzards. The camps are designed for 8 to 12 year-olds. The camps and the day long session deal with safety on ATV’s, bicycles, electricity, farm chemicals and animals, farm machinery, fire, lawn mowers, garden tractors, grain bins and grain wagons. If there is a farm safety camp in your area, do all you can to support it and to get those youngsters there for the safety education.

Why is this so important? Well, because about 104 children die each year from agricultural injuries. Children younger than 16 years of age are victims of up to 20% of all farm fatalities, and children who do not live on farms are victims of one-third to one-half of non-fatal childhood ag injuries.

So, let’s prove to the Federal government that we don’t need rules from Washington, D.C. to make farms and ranches safer. It is up to you and me to get that job done without the often-used line “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.