Tips For a Safe and Successful Planting Season

You may have started planting or you might be just days away, but the season is here. As we start planting, long days and impossible hours become a reality. Don't forget to take care of yourself during the planting season with a couple of great tips:

Safety first. If you think something doesn't feel, sound or smell right, check it out. Don't chance it because you want to save time. Being safe keeps the farm running smoothly. Tune up any and all equipment or vehicles before you use them.Remember some of them have been sitting for a while. 

Be prepared. Never leave the house without your first aid kit, a roll of duct tape, gloves and a tool box. You know what you need. Save a trip back to the house or the barn by planning ahead and bringing your must-haves and might-needs with you!

Dress smart. Dark clothing, loose clothing, no protection? No thanks. Don't wear loose clothing around equipment or work areas if there's a chance it can get caught. Keep your colors light and dress in layers if you can. Wear a hat (or sunscreen). Don't forget the masks or eyewear if they are required.

Park! Don't leave a vehicle without putting it in park. That means, don't be in too much of a hurry! Use emergency brakes! Don't leave running equipment unattended.

Refresh yourself and others on safety. After you have been farming on the same land with the same equipment for a while, it becomes second nature. It's a good idea to review manuals or even just a few simple safety tips before you get started. Anyone helping you, especially if they are new, needs a reminder as well. You might know the farm like the back of your hand, but it's been a year since the last planting season, so now is the time to remind yourself!

Ask for help. Sometimes you can't do it all on your own. Whether it is your spouse, your neighbor, the kiddos or even hiring someone, it's okay to ask for help during these busy times.

Sleep. Yes, we know. Sounds ridiculous. Too much to do. It's okay to slow down. Everything is not going to get done in a day. You will be more productive and more efficient and definitely safer with a proper amount of sleep. And, you might be a little more fun to be around!

Hydrate. Drink water. Take water with you. Freeze water bottles and throw them in a cooler for the day. Don't forget to chug some water every now and then. It gets hot quickly and doesn't cool off until late in the day. Staying hydrated is vital to keep you healthy during planting season!

Eat. This is an easy one to forget. Hours go by, you are in the field and you don't even realize you didn't eat. Whether you bring a sandwich or snack with you in the truck or you take a break to run to the house, eating is so important when you need to feel good mentally and physically to get the job done!

Ignore the messes. There's no way around dirty laundry or dishes. If the farm comes first, you gotta ignore the messes. There will be a break or a rainy day and you will catch up. For now, focus on the tasks at hand and know the laundry will be there when you get back.

Roll with the punches. Things will happen, weather or equipment will not cooperate. This is a good time to breathe in and out and be nice. A little kindness goes a long way when tensions run high and the days seem to go on forever!

Farming is a lifestyle, not just a job. It can take over in spring and fall where you just don't feel like you have a second to breathe. Remember why you do this job, why you live this life. It's amazing to be a part of the group that feeds the world. And remember, it will be over before you know it!

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