Chris Petersen, of Clear Lake, Iowa, has farmed and raised hogs for years. As a board member of the Iowa Farmers’ Union and Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health, I-CASH, he has worked to raise awareness of farm safety issues.
He also helps bring a farmer’s perspective to developers of agricultural safety equipment.
“You know the simple of it is, I guess, farmers at a certain time of the year have one-track minds. And it’s getting that crop in and getting that crop out. And everything else is a side issue,” he said.
Petersen attended the 12th Annual Midwest Rural Agricultural Safety and Health Conference in Ames, Iowa, as part of his work with I-CASH. He said raising awareness among farmers of the dangers they face in the fields is one of his main goals.
“With farm safety: be careful, be careful, be careful. We know you’re tired, we know you’re in a hurry, you want to get the crops out, but have some common sense here. We want you around next year.”
“We have to figure out ways to minimize the risks and educate people, the farmers and the people in general,” he said.
Although farming still has the highest fatality rate of any other Iowa occupation, according to data from the Iowa Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program, Petersen said he has seen an increase in safety consciousness among farmers.
“We’re making a difference. If we save one farmers life, it’s worth it. You think of all the wives and the daughters and the sons and the grandkids who still have that farmer around. It’s a good feeling,” he said.