Clemson Agricultural Safety

Safety Spotlight – July 2020

Katherine manages three commodity boards at SCDA that are all checkoff programs. She is also the marketing specialist of those three commodities. Katherine’s life has been centered around agriculture, as she comes from a family farm, where she is proud to say she is the third generation. Their family farm has changed over the years as farming has evolved. Her family also owns and operates a small tractor and equipment business. Katherine is proud that her roots run deep in agriculture.

How did you hear about the Ag Safety program?
KH: I am a Clemson Alumni and the program was just beginning when I graduated in 2018. I made sure to stay in the loop and be on the mailing list, as I knew that my profession would be in agriculture. I wanted to keep up with the latest news on ag safety.

How often do you run across the topic of agricultural safety in your position?
KH: Quite often I hear my farmers talking about an employee being injured or they themselves almost experiencing an injury. I mainly work with farmers who are operating large equipment and they often see that their employees are not as safety-oriented as expected of them. It is extremely important for farmers and others in agriculture to be safe, as this is their livelihood and one mistake could change all of that.

What do you think is the biggest concern regarding agricultural safety?
KH: I think the biggest concern regarding agricultural safety, to be blunt, is to not lose a life. So many times we hear of farmers or farm workers losing their lives because of one small mistake. I think it is always extremely important to remain cautious when performing tasks. If someone is not comfortable completing a task or operating a piece of machinery, they most certainly should ask for help or seek further training.

Is there enough being done to teach agricultural safety in our state schools?
KH: I think that the FFA does an amazing job teaching high school students, but there is always a gap. I do believe that there should be outlets for students not involved in FFA or who did not grow up in agricultural settings, to access this important information. A simple safety intervention as an adolescent can be something that they take with them throughout their lives. Being exposed to the dangers in agriculture during a child’s growth in high school can catch their attention and leave them more aware of other situations later in life.

Do you have any advice for the agricultural sector in this time of uncertainty?
KH: As we continue to adjust to what is referred to as the “new normal,” I encourage all of those in the agricultural sector to remain cautious and stay healthy, as farmers and their employees are the ones in charge of our food supply!

Submitted by Katherine Helms

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