Posts filed under ‘safety’

Tips for Driving During Busy Farm Season: 5 Things You Must Do

Spring and early summer are extremely busy times of the year for farmers.  Activities are many, and include moving large equipment from farm-to-farm.  Oftentimes moving farm equipment requires travel on roads.  Farm equipment is large, slow moving and does not stop quickly.  As such, it is very important that motorists take caution when approaching farm equipment.  Below are a few tips that should be followed when driving during the busy farming season:

  • Slow down immediately when you first see farm equipment ahead of you on the roadway. Farm equipment usually travels less than 25 miles per hour. It takes less than seven seconds for a car traveling at 55 mph to crash into the back of a tractor 400 feet away.
  • Be patient and wait for a safe opportunity to pass farm equipment. The tractor or combine operator will probably be aware of your presence and will pull over when possible as traffic begins to back-up.
  • Drive defensively when approaching on-coming farm equipment. Impatient motorists may pull out suddenly to pass the farm equipment and enter your lane.
  • Be on the alert when you see amber flashing lights ahead in either lane.
  • Be prepared to stop at railroad crossings when following a vehicle towing an anhydrous ammonia tank. Anhydrous ammonia tanks look like the large propane gas tanks used by rural homeowners.

Source: Michigan State University

May 6, 2010 at 8:38 pm 1 comment

EPA Launches Skin-Applied Insect Repellent Website

EPA has launched a website with product information for skin-applied insect repellents. The website is designed for consumers to view relevant information for mosquito, tick and other biting insect protection.

The website contains easy-to-read tables with information about individual insect repellent products. The tables provide the active ingredient of each product along with the percentage of the active ingredient. The number of hours the product will repel mosquitoes is also on the table and is based on the effectiveness data reviewed by EPA. The website will also show if the product protects against various insects or just mosquitoes.

The website can be accessed at:

Thanks for the heads up through the Pesticide Education Program email by Cindy Folck, Communications Program Coordinator, OSU Extension Pesticide Safety Education Program.

April 21, 2010 at 9:05 am

Precautions for Handling Moldy Grain

Poor quality and mycotoxin infested grain is common this year with some growers reporting very low levels to very high levels.  Purdue University recently published a short article on grain safety handling:

Breathing grain dust is never healthy, and grain handlers should always wear protective masks when they work in grain bins, and when conducting operations that generate dust. Grain damaged by ear rots will have higher levels of dust and fines present, compared to good quality grain. Fungal spores produced by the ear rot fungi will also be in the grain dust. Fortunately, the fungus that causes Gibberella ear rot does not produce a lot of spores. However, there will certainly be spores of other molds in the grain dust. These spores can lead to allergic reactions, which may include flu-like symptoms, if workers do not take precautionary measures to protect themselves from exposure.

Simple safety procedures can be implemented to minimize exposure to grain dust and mold spores. When working with moldy grain, wear appropriate clothing such as long sleeves, pants, and gloves. A dust mask or respirator should also be worn to minimize inhalation risks. People who have a compromised immune system or respiratory ailments should avoid handling or working with moldy grain.

Full podcast here:


February 17, 2010 at 8:12 am

Grain Rescue Demonstration at Farm Science Review

Farm Science Review 2009 had an outstanding grain rescue demonstration, and was a perfect fit with farm safety week.  Thanks to the great folks at OSU Comm Tech for their work on this youtube clip!

September 29, 2009 at 8:10 am

Pesticide Use in the U.S.

I enjoy reading pesticide news from other states, and I recently stumbled on University of Florida Extension Chemically Speaking newsletter.  This newsletter has been long since bookmarked by me as a great resource on pesticide registrations and updates.  In their March, 2009 issue, a Chemical and Engineering newstory was quoted on Pesticide use in the U.S.  Twenty years of data compiled by various federal and state agencies and groups indicate that pesticide use has dropped through 2001 (the last year of reliable data).  The project since 2001 is that pesticide use has remained flat.

The drop in pesticide use is due to a host of factors, including better pesticides that not only are more selective and applied at lower rates, but also have lower inherent toxicity and thus a lower impact on human health and the environment. Another factor is the set of farming strategies called integrated pest management (IPM), which relies on the life cycles of pests and crops to control pests economically and withholds use of pesticides until potential damage reaches a certain threshold.

Along those same lines a Bernards Township  in New Jersey recently announced it was going “pesticide free”, joining a list of cities, towns, municipalities and even a school district in New Jersey that are now pesticide free.

The township in December adopted an “integrated pest management” policy that calls for things like manual weeding; aerating soil; and letting grass grow taller as a way to maintain grounds.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) isn’t new. In fact, IPM has been around for years for farmers and Master Gardeners.  IPM is simply a process of pest control whereby a host of resource and knowledge is used in making pest management decision-making process. Today, IPM is applied to both agricultural and non-agricultural environments, and does include the use of pesticides as one of many tools available for pest management.

I suggest bookmarking Chemically Speaking and giving it a read.  It’s worth your time.

Full podcast available here:

March 25, 2009 at 7:30 am

Vegetable and Fruit Safety Course Offered April 20, 2009 at OARDC

Recent outbreaks of E. coli O157 and Salmonella in fresh produce, coupled with heightened media coverage of such events, have thrust fruit and vegetable safety into the forefront of public attention. Growers producing fruit and vegetables for direct-to-sale farm markets or for sale through a third-party are facing scrutiny and a greater need to implement on-farm food safety assurance practices.

To that end the OSU Vegetable and Fruit Food Safety team is offering a one-day course on good agricultural practices.  The course is directed for growers selling fresh vegetables/fruit direct to consumers or through a third-party and will focus on several areas of food safety for fresh fruits and vegetables with many key topics to be covered, including:  Good Agricultural Practices, Understanding/Reducing Risks of Microbial Contamination During Production,  Pre Harvest Food Safety Issues, Post Harvest Food Safety Issues, Packing House Sanitation, Water Sanitation, Third Party Certification Overview, and an On-site Mock Audit.

Printed and/or electronic resource materials will be provided to each participant. Participants will also have the opportunity to interact with numerous instructors from the OSU Vegetable and Fruit Food Safety team throughout the training.  Teaching and resource personnel include: Dr. Douglas Doohan, Dr. Jeffrey LeJeune, Mr. Mark Koenig, Mr. Harold Kneen, Mr. Andy Kleinschmidt and Mr. Terry Kline.

A registration fee of $50 per participant includes the one-day training, all resource materials, refreshments and lunch. In order to keep the learning environment engaging, registration will be limited to 50.  Download the registration brochure below.  Registration questions:  Tim Koch,, 330-466-4895; general course questions: Andy Kleinschmidt,, 419-516-4829.

What: Food Safety for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Course

When: April 20th, 2009, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Location: Fisher Auditorium, OARDC Campus, Wooster, OH (

Who: Growers raising fresh fruits and/or vegetables for direct sale

Fee: $50 per participant

RSVP: registration and payment must be received by April 13.

Registration brochure here


March 23, 2009 at 4:57 pm

Product Review: Outdoor Research Transit Sun Hat

Working in agriculture I spend a lot of time outdoors. It is what I love to do and I feel lucky to make this my career. However, there are some pitfalls with this profession. Spending a great deal of time outdoors, sometimes in excess of 12 hours a day, I am exposed to direct sunlight. This year I decided to move away from wearing the traditional ‘baseball cap’ hat to something that provides sun protection that my skin deserves. A driving force behind my decision to switch to a broad-brimmed hat is Extension’s push to educate citizens about skin cancer.

Cancer is a group of diseases characterized by uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells. More than 1 million unreported cases of basal cell or squamous cell cancers occur annually. Most, but not all, of these forms of skin cancer are highly curable. The most common serious form of skin cancer is melanoma.

Risk factors vary for different types of skin cancer. For melanoma, major risk factors include a personal or family history of melanoma and the presence of atypical moles. Other risk factors for all types of skin cancer include a history of excessive sun exposure, including sunburns.

Prevention is simple, but often overlooked. The following straightforward advice is from the American Cancer Society: when outdoors, wear a hat that shades the face, neck, and ears, a long-sleeved shirt, and long pants.

In early 2008 I purchased the Outdoor Research Transit Sun Hat for $35 (including shipping). I wanted a hat that did two things. First, and most importantly, I needed sun protection on my face, neck and ears. Second, I needed the hat to provide adequate ventilation. Over the course of wearing this hat during the summer of 2008 I was able to put this hat through its’ paces.


  • adequate sun protection (measured by lack of sunburn on my face, ears or neck)
  • adequate ventilation- I never felt overheated
  • secure fitting adjustable headband- the hat didn’t blow off my head in wind > 20 mph
  • rated UPF 50


  • brim is floppy, and doesn’t hold its’ shape in >15 mph wind
  • chin cord was annoying, and I eventually removed it


I recommend this hat or similar styles that provide comparable sun protection. I feel that this is a good hat for the money, and I plan to continue wearing this hat.

Disclosure: This is not a paid endorsement and I received no compensation for this review. This review is on-going and I reserve the right to amend my review at anytime. Skin cancer facts and figures are excerpted from American Cancer Society Facts & Figures 2008.

August 12, 2008 at 7:00 am 2 comments


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