July 15, 2024

National Farm Safety and Health Week observed: ‘No one can take your place’

Mike Starkey harvests soybeans on a 135-acre field in Brownsburg, Indiana. National Farm Safety and Health Week was held Sept. 17-23.

WASHINGTON — National Farm Safety and Health Week was Sept. 17-23 this year with the theme, “No one can take your place.”

This annual promotion initiated by the National Safety Council has been proclaimed by each sitting U.S. president since Franklin Roosevelt in 1944.

“America’s farmers, farmworkers and ranchers are the backbone of our nation,” said President Joe Biden. “They feed our families, power much of our economy and help America lead the world.

“We owe them the dignity and certainty of knowing they are safe on the job. During National Farm Safety and Health Week, we renew our nation’s commitment to protecting the well-being of everyone who works in agriculture.”

The agricultural sector is still the most dangerous in America with 453 fatalities each year, according to 2021 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Joe Biden

“The prosperity that American farms provide our nation can come with great personal risk,” Biden said.

“Agriculture has long been one of our most dangerous industries, with nearly six times as many fatalities as other industries, often due to tractor rollovers and road accidents while moving equipment from farm to field.

“Heavy labor, unsafe pesticides, extreme heat and weather, volatile markets, and other uncertainties can cause stress and injury.”

At the same time, nearly 200 rural hospitals have closed since 2005, making it harder to find emergency treatment and health care in agricultural areas, the president said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing $500 million in American Rescue Plan funds in rural health care services so more Americans can get needed care closer to home.

Additionally, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is investing $65 billion in broadband, boosting access to remote telehealth services.

National Farm Safety and Health Week aims to make a difference by raising awareness and educating communities on health and safety hazards.

Free safety webinars and resources are available to view at www.agrisafe.org/nfshw.

Erica Quinlan

Erica Quinlan

Field Editor