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Be safe. Be respectful. Be responsible.

Progressive Dairyman Editor Karen Lee Published on 30 September 2015

Last night, my 6-year-old proudly stated that after one week of school she learned “the big three.” When most people think of education, especially grade school, they would consider the big three to be reading, writing and arithmetic.

However, from personal experience, I can attest that it takes a bit more than a week to learn those three subjects. The big three my daughter was referencing was the school’s slogan, “Be safe. Be respectful. Be responsible.”

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As I was sitting down to write this column, while choppers take to the field, I couldn’t help but think of how that same slogan applies to farming, especially at harvest.

Be safe.

We all know how dangerous farming can be. Anyone in a farming community knows at least someone who has been affected by a farming accident.

Safety should always be top-of-mind on a farm regardless of the day or task at hand. However, it seems to take centre stage at harvest when even more people and equipment are working quickly to get a job done.

Have you given thought to safety on your farm this harvest season? I learned that it’s not a bad idea to have a first aid kit located in every tractor, truck and barn so supplies are handy when needed.

Dan M. Hair thinks beyond cuts and scrapes as he “starts with the killers.” Read about “the big three” hazards he identifies for a dairy farm and how to manage safety relative to those items.

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As you go about harvest, take a minute to think through how you can improve safety in each area of your operation. Make a note in a notepad or on your phone so you can develop a sound safety plan for your farm.

Be respectful.

Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate harvest. It is a time to give thanks and to be respectful of the land, the food and the farmers.

This harvest season, let’s also not forget to be respectful to those who help us get through each day. Thank the employees that worked a longer shift or came in on their day off.

Give your spouse a kiss for bearing with your frantic schedule. Hug your kids to let them know you are thinking of them. Remember to return respect to those who are so kind to give it to you.

Be responsible.

You are harvesting commodities that will eventually become food products for your family, friends, neighbours and people all across the country and world. With each bite, that consumer wants to know that the product was farmed in a responsible manner.

The proAction initiative is a way to monitor, share and reinforce messages of quality, food safety, animal well-being and environmental stewardship, but the responsibility ultimately lies with each and every dairy producer. Don’t let certain areas of responsibility slip just because everyone is busy with harvest.

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As harvest comes to an end and the school year carries on, try to keep the big three in mind with all that you do. Be safe. Be respectful. Be responsible.  PD

Karen Lee
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