Safety is challenging even for farmers who are the latest in generations on the farm. What about those who are newest to farming – or starting over in a new country?
Part of the answer lies in education. That’s why planning is underway for another season of workshops for emerging and immigrant farmers in collaboration with the Dakota County-based organization Sharing Our Roots. Building safety into the first foundations of farming helps hard-wire recognition of the perils farming can present.
“We want to help create spaces where people can flourish and connect with the land,” says Josie Trople, co-manager of the Sharing Our Roots farm near Northfield.
For Dustin Grzesik and Joanne Sum-Ping, who are starting a fruit farm near Mahtomedi, that meant tromping through the field last fall at the farm to learn first-hand from Emily Krekelberg, Extension educator, and Sharing Our Roots staff.
“So much can happen in a split second,” says Grzesik. “This is really a helpful opportunity to get grounded and understand what it takes to stay safe.”
After Krekelberg’s presentation, participants watched Wyatt Parks of Sharing Our Roots show a few of the myriad things that can go wrong with a power takeoff shaft, which connects energy from a tractor to the implements.
Power take-off shafts rotate at astonishing speed; if a piece of clothing gets entangled, the split second result can be loss of limb. Or worse.
“They’re a leading source of farm injuries,” says Krekelberg. “People still get hurt, so you cannot emphasize this information enough.