September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.
Many mishaps remind farmers to be careful
It's no different in my family. I have five brothers and a brother-in-law who milk cows and they can't wait to dig, plant and start the season.
With the commencement of spring fieldwork coming shortly, this is a time when farm families need to be extremely careful.
I know from personal experience that living on a farm has its perks, but it can also be quite dangerous, both in the field and around the yard.
Below is a list, in no particular order, of some of the worst mishaps that happened on our home farm and the farms my brothers operate now.
1) Two of my sisters were riding the same bike on our field road at our parents' farm. This was an older bike that had fenders on both the front and the back. My younger sister, Linda, sat on the back fender while my oldest sister, JoAnn, pedaled. Somehow, Linda got her toes caught in the chain. It took her little toe off and severed the next littlest. JoAnn had to carry Linda the rest of the way home. My parents brought Linda to the hospital to salvage the other toe. JoAnn was sent back to find the little toe, but never found it.
2) A hired hand for one of my brothers did not unhook the power take off from the tractor before driving away from a grain auger. The PTO still had the transport pin in. When the tractor started moving forward, the auger tires quit sliding and caught, tipping the auger onto the steering wheel and fender of the open station tractor. Unbelievably, the auger didn't hit the driver who was still on the seat.
3) My sister, Mary, was steering the grinder mixer auger into the feed room when one of the tires of the mixer started to roll up the back of her leg, breaking it.
4) A couple of my siblings and I went to pick up my brother, Jim, at his new farm to go to church. We waited in the house for him. When he didn't show up, I ran to the garage to get him. I literally clotheslined myself on the way - running into the wires that were strung across for clothing; - it left me with a concussion and a broken collarbone. I don't remember a thing until halfway through mass. I only discovered my broken collarbone when I couldn't lift a bale of hay during chores that night.
5) My brother, Ron, was driving tractor on the small square baler with flatbed hayracks where the bales are stacked behind. The tractor had an attached loader that Ron drove into a powerline post. The impact sent the two stackers (my brother, Chuck and Mom) off the rack.
6) A hired hand was hauling loads of small square bales and didn't see a car coming up quickly behind him. He turned into the field approach, pushing the car into the ditch as well.
7) Another hired hand for one of my brothers was bringing up silage boxes and was driving a little too fast on the field road and subsequently tipped the box over on its side.
8) JoAnn received a broken leg from a cow and Ron was kicked square in the eye while walking behind the cows.
9) My brother, Jim, lost his grip near the top of a 40-foot silo and fell down the chute only to land on a pile of silage and be fine.
10) My nephew, Brandon, broke his arm when it was squished between cows. He was switching cows in and out of the barn on the dairy he operates with his dad, Brian.
There are all sorts of mishaps that can happen at any time on a dairy farm. Although some can't be prevented, others can be, if we slow down and think through what we are doing.
Have a safe and productive growing season.
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