The independent student newspaper of Iowa State and Ames since 1890

Iowa State Daily

Iowa State Daily

Iowa State Daily

Safety during harvest season: Traffic, equipment and disease

Emily Blobaum

When the leaves begin to change and the air turns crisp, farmers across Iowa prepare for harvest season. During harvest, hazards are present for both farmers and the general public alike.

Sydney Hurd, a freshman studying agriculture business, grew up on a farm in Storm Lake, Iowa. Hurd is the fourth generation on her family farm, a row crop farm and feedlot operation.

“Agriculture has always been a very large part of my life, and so it’s always been kind of who we are as a family,” Hurd said.

Hurd said transporting equipment from field to field is a challenge during harvest.

“You’re having to take big pieces of machinery down the highway, and cars come up really quick behind you because they don’t realize that you’re going so slow,” Hurd said.

According to Hurd, newer pieces of equipment have a sign indicating their average speed when going down the highway. She recommends that those in vehicles keep their distance, as drivers in the equipment struggle to see who may be behind them.

Lauren Connolly, a freshman in agricultural communications from Bernard, Iowa, drives 2.5 hours one way every weekend during harvest to help on the farm.

Connolly said in her experience, it is usually her father and brother who are in the equipment driving from field to field. Connolly said that if something were to happen to them, it would have a lasting effect on their family.

“When you are off to the side and equipment is going slow, it’s so easy to collide into them and get into a crash,” Connolly said.

Connolly said that during fall, her family routinely does checks on equipment and makes sure fire extinguishers are present on the farm at all times.

In 2007, Hurd said her family had a fire in their combine and now they take extra safety measures, including making sure there is always a fire extinguisher present on all of the equipment. They also now know when it is too dry to run.

Emma Showalter, a freshman majoring in agriculture communication, is from Hampton, Iowa. Like Hurd, Showalter also grew up on a fourth generation family farm. Showalter said her dad, along with his uncle, cousins and brothers, have the farm under control.

A precaution Showalter said her family now takes seriously is wearing masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) while in grain bins and hog confinements.

Showalter’s grandfather was diagnosed with farmer’s lung due to not wearing the proper PPE. An allergy to the mold in some crops might result in farmer’s lung, as the disease is typically contracted by inhaling dust from grain, tobacco, hay, corn or grass used as animal feed. Farmers are the most prone to contracting this disease.

“He ended up having 20% lung capacity because he wasn’t wearing his mask when he should’ve been. It really took a toll on our family, and he ended up passing away,” Showalter said.

Connolly also said that proper PPE is very important.

“It’s been preached pretty hard throughout my childhood to make sure you watch when you’re out in the fields and you’re working—wearing the proper PPE, closed toed shoes so you don’t get injured,” Connolly said.

View Comments (1)
Donate to Iowa State Daily
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of the Iowa State Daily. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, send our student journalists to conferences and off-set their cost of living so they can continue to do best-in-the-nation work at the Iowa State Daily.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Emily Blobaum, Author
Donate to Iowa State Daily
Our Goal

Comments (1)

All Iowa State Daily Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • A

    Adrian | Nov 29, 2023 at 10:30 pm

    Harvest started in mid to late September. Yes, there is still a lot of equipment on the highways now, but harvest is technically over. Timeliness is important in journalism.