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Next 8 Weeks the Most Dangerous on the Farm

September 9, 2008

Des Moines, IA – An average of 40 people die every year on Iowa farms. So far this year, the state is on track to match that number, but the deadliest time is just ahead: Most farm-related accidents occur during September and October when the harvest is underway.

Iowa Farmers Union spokesman Gary Hoskey, a farmer in Tama County, says this time of year many farmers make mistakes, partly because of exhaustion and stress.

"Their anxiety is over not only this crop and whether it's going to mature, but uncertainty over what's going to come next year. That just adds an added safety risk this fall."

Hoskey says being injured and unable to work, even for a short time, can be financially devastating.

"Most insurance is not enough to cover what your actual losses are going to be, particularly if you have to hire somebody. It would really be traumatic to have a family be in that situation."

Farm safety experts agree that the most dangerous piece of machinery is the tractor. However, as equipment has gotten bigger, a growing danger is electrocution from tall harvesting apparatus coming in contact with power lines.

Dick Layman/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - IA