Hometown: Fort Lawn, SC
Position: Owner of Lovern Greenhouses
“When I was younger, I never thought that agriculture was going to be the path I chose in life, but when I moved to South Carolina, that is where I ended up. I found myself in the greenhouse at my high school, and that is where it all started. I have been involved in horticulture for going on 40 years. Along the way, I have worked in many areas of horticulture. I have worked on golf courses, in greenhouses, at a florist, and done landscaping at amusement parks. Later in life, I decided to open my own business, and I have owned it for 25 years. Through my business, I have gotten to meet very many people involved in agriculture and gotten to experience many great things.”
How did you hear about the Ag Safety program?
I heard about the Ag Safety program from my daughter, who is attending Clemson and works with the Ag Safety program.
How important is it for farmers and other people in agriculture to be safe?
I think it is essential for farmers and other people in agriculture to be safe. I feel that the agricultural sector often gets overlooked when it comes to safety and wellbeing, but this should not be the case. If we did not have these vital people, our world as we know it would come to a standstill. Because of this, I feel that safety in agriculture and farming is one of the most important things.
What do you think the biggest concern is regarding agricultural safety?
I think the biggest concern regarding agricultural safety is lawn mower safety. In my hometown, tractors are not very common, but lawnmowers are. Everywhere you look, someone is riding around cutting their grass or others’ grass. Often, those riding the lawnmowers are younger kids just trying to make a few extra dollars. Because of this, I feel that everyone needs to understand how to safely operate a lawnmower to mitigate injuries.
What do you think is the best way to teach agricultural safety?
I think the best way to teach agricultural safety is to have lots of hands-on demonstrations. Growing up, I always learned better when activities were hands-on. When exercises are hands-on, those participating get a real sense of the topic, making it more applicable.
What do you do to stay safe during the workday?
To stay safe during the workday, I always make sure that I understand how to operate the equipment before I begin using it. I was involved in an accident with gas-powered hedge trimmers in my younger days and cut my finger off. After this experience, I always make sure that I am aware of my surroundings and fully understand how to operate my equipment.