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The Blink of an Eye


by Clay Geyer

Published: Friday, July 31, 2020

Walking in the Furrow

As a farmer, we must understand that our occupation comes with challenges and can be overwhelmingly dangerous at times, so we must keep safety upfront at all times. The caution and danger decals are obvious and apparent on every piece of equipment that we use on a daily basis. We know the dangers, but yet we still find ourselves falling into unsafe habits and taking shortcuts, which are sometimes passed down from one generation to the next. We have all experienced a near miss or have been involved in a farm accident at one point in our lives or know someone who has. In some cases we are fortunate enough to look back at what happened, and learn from our mistakes, but that's not always the case.

As a young child, farming was much safer when we pushed the Ertl farm toys across the carpeted bedroom floors and enjoyed every moment on a smaller scale just like Dad was doing outside the window. Just like others my age, as soon as my feet were able to reach the tractor pedals I was in the field field raking and baling hay or doing tillage while Dad and Grandpa finished up the chores in the barn. We learn from our parents and our grandparents on how to do things, and we followed their lead. I don't recall at what age that I started helping with planting and harvesting, but safety was always top priority. Driving tractor or riding along was always high on the list of any farm kid; at that time we didn't know anything about the buddy seats, so we rode the fender or sat on their lap.

I remember one year, I was exchanging out gravity wagons in the field and using a Farmall Super H to pull loaded wagons of ear corn up to the corn crib. Grandpa asked if I'd hook the empty wagon up to him, so he could continue picking corn. I've done it hundreds of times before without incident, so he backed the International 756 tractor and the New Idea 324 corn picker on back, and I dropped the hitch pin in the tongue of the wagon, but this time my feet got tangled up in the already harvested cornstalks. Grandpa had no idea that I was still in between the wagon and the ear picker, consequently as he pulled forward the elevator that elevates the picked ears in the wagon, knocked me to the side.

It happened so fast, he had no idea what had happened till he made it back around the field, the elevator had pushed me to the side, but the tires of the wagon had rolled over both of my legs just above the knees. I remember dragging myself to the tractor and using my hand to push the clutch in and placing it in a forward gear so I could make my way to the house. I was lucky that the wagon was empty and I managed to escape with minor bruising.

Aug. 16 starting at 10 a.m. our farm will host a farm safety training day with several local fire departments and EMS personnel. We plan to offer a variety of older and newer equipment to help first responders get a feel on how to safely disengage tractors, combines and equipment so they can extract the victims in a farm accident scenario and not put themselves at risk. Area neighbors have agreed to bring equipment and explain the dangers of their equipment so they remain safe. I believe it is important that we all learn from each other on how to become aware of the farm hazards and the dangers that we often overlook when we get in a hurry.

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