It is hard to believe that August is upon us and summer is winding down. August is the month when school is starting for many children, county fairs are abundant and families hold their annual reunions before Labor Day. This month also hosts some of the best farm shows in the region: Empire Farm Days and Ag Progress Days. These shows are often a family event for farmers, and it is not unusual to see three generations of a clan attending a show.
I look forward to these shows because I enjoy seeing the new equipment and catching up with exhibitor friends, some of whom I have known for decades. In addition to the camaraderie and the chance to inquire about the best tractors, these shows offer attendees educational opportunities. Empire Farm Days has added new beef handling demonstrations centered around chutes. Ag Progress Days provides seminars on grazing and pasture management, forest stewardship and wildlife management, and my favorite, horse training and health.
However, the most important demonstrations these shows offer are about farm safety. I know too many people who have been hurt or killed in farm-related accidents. Because I am a mom, farm safety is paramount with me. My own son lost part of a finger in an agricultural accident, and there are too many children hurt every year on farms. According to Penn State Extension and the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, every three days a child dies on a farm. But children are not the only age group hurt; every generation is vulnerable to an accident. That is why everyone attending these summer shows should take a few minutes to observe the safety demonstrations offered. Now I know how older farmers feel; they think they don’t need to learn about farm safety. Wrong! Everybody can freshen up with a reminder seminar, even if only a one-minute protective tidbit is learned.
Empire Farm Days offers a Grain Bin Simulator Safety presentation every day. It addresses the ways people become entrapped in bins, equipment that operators should have on-site and the hazards of dust and mold. There will also be an in-pond demonstration pertaining to water safety for farm ponds.
Ag Progress Days hosts demonstrations on Hay Hole Covers and other child dangers. Sessions on increasing operating visibility around machinery are also included, and these seminars occur daily. On Wednesday, there will be an emergency rescue response program. Emergency rescue response on-farm accident simulation including emergency scene stabilization and patient extrications will be included. If you are a member of a volunteer fire department, take time to watch this.
You can also take advantage of the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health tents. Information on Rollover Protective Structures programs, skin care, hearing tests, personal protective equipment and blood pressure screenings are offered. Ag Progress Days offers a rural health and safety tent. And don’t forget the first aid stations. If you attended the Empire show last year, you will remember how brutally hot it was. Numerous people used the first aid tents to avoid passing out from the heat and humidity.
If you attend the shows, bring plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated, and I recommend a cooling towel. Douse it with cold water and wear it around your neck. It works wonders. I look forward to seeing you at the shows.