Take Care of Yourself This Planting Season
Submitted by the University of Minnesota Extension
The weather seems to finally be cooperating and spring planting has already begun in some parts of the state. Spring can be a hectic time, and just like in the fall, these demanding times for farmers can lead to long days, tired bodies and minds, and lapses in judgment. That combination can lead to poor farm safety, which can lead to farm accidents. I know it may seem like I'm always talking about safety, but it seems I can never talk about it enough. By being cognizant of the dangers of farming, and taking the proper safety precautions, more of these accidents can be prevented.
An often overlooked component of farm safety is taking care of yourself. You are the first step in having a safe farm, and taking care of yourself will ensure you are able to maintain it. There are some days on the farm that never seem to end, and it's easy to say, "Just one more thing," but don't exhaust yourself. Be sure you get enough sleep and rest. If you are in the tractor all day, take some short breaks to refresh yourself. Make sure you are eating enough, and eating the right stuff. Eat a breakfast in the morning and be sure to take a break for lunch. Avoid too many sugary snacks or beverages as they can lead to a sugar crash.
Farming can be stressful and days can be busy, but slow down and don't rush. Don't skip a pre-field equipment inspection or hurry through a task so quickly a gate gets left open. Keeping a level head and working at a reasonable pace will prevent slip-ups, which will only slow you down.
In addition, think about your mental health. Accept the things that are outside of your control-milk prices, feed prices, market demand, weather, and other people. Don't stress over aspects that you cannot change. If you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or depressed-don't ignore it. The toll-free Farm & Rural Helpline can be reached at 833-600-2670.
Safety is important on any farm all year round, not just during one season. Don't ignore your personal health, as you hold the keys to keep your farm a safe and happy place every day of the year.