Frankfort, KY - Farmers put their health, and even their lives, on the line to provide the food and fiber we all depend on, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said in proclaiming the week of Sept. 16-22 as Farm Safety and Health Week.
"Farmers encounter many hazards in their work from machinery, livestock, chemicals, extreme weather, and other factors," Commissioner Quarles said. "A death or injury on the farm is a tragedy in itself, but it also can disrupt the operation and even result in the loss of the farm. I encourage all Kentucky farmers and farm workers to put safety first at all times during Farm Safety and Health Week and all year long."
Commissioner Quarles pointed out that some farmers must move large, heavy machinery on the roadways, especially during peak harvest season in the fall, and he urged Kentucky motorists to take extra care when encountering a tractor, combine, or other farm implement.
To commemorate Farm Safety and Health Week, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's (KDA) Farm & Home Safety Program will conduct a Pep Rally for Life on Sept. 13 in Murray. High school students will watch as local emergency responders treat "victims" of a mock farm accident.
"It's important to encourage our young people to establish safe habits at an early age," Commissioner Quarles said. "Making safety a priority can reduce the risk of harm and even save lives."
The Farm & Home Safety Program travels to schools, civic group meetings, and major events such as the National Farm Machinery Show and the Kentucky State Fair. Program staff use a rollover tractor simulator, a miniature grain bin and wagon, a power takeoff (PTO), an anhydrous ammonia tank, and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) to demonstrate some of the hazards of farming and rural life.
The number of fatalities in agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting in Kentucky totaled 13 in 2017, according to the Kentucky Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program's annual report.