Insurer: 12 Farm Fatalities In Illinois Last Year
Officials say Illinois farmers had the safest season in decades last year, with a dozen farm-related fatalities.
The State Journal-Register reports the deaths occurred between July 2012 and June 2013.
The 12 deaths were the lowest number since the insurance company Country Financial began tracking the figures in 1978.
About two-thirds of the fatalities involved roadway collisions.
Illinois agriculture officials attribute the low figures to the drought, which meant farmers were spending less time harvesting, driving equipment on roadways and putting grain in bins.
University of Illinois professor Bob Aherin coordinates the school's Agriculture Safety and Health Program.
He says he's worried "antsy'' farmers will push themselves during this year's harvest. And that could be dangerous.
A few weeks ago on a farm outside a small north central Iowa town, Arick Baker was enveloped under 2 feet of grain in less than 10 seconds while working inside a silo. He was surrounded by 22,000 bushels of corn, exerting more than 400 pounds of pressure on most of his body. Unlike most who are caught in a grain bin entrapment, Baker survived. That makes him an extreme exception to the rule. This hour on Focus, we’ll hear from Baker about what it was like to be trapped in the corn. Rescuers estimate it was more than 100 degrees inside the bin while he was trapped; he walked away with little more than a few bruises and scrapes.
Then, we’ll hear from professor of agriculture at Purdue University William Field about why these preventable farming accidents happen. He has been tracking these types of incidents since the mid 1970’s and will talk with us about why it’s hard to pin down exactly how many incidents happen each year and what’s being done to decrease the number of them. University of Illinois Extension Agriculture Broadcaster Todd Gleason, who used to play in grain bins growing up on the farm, will also be here to talk with us about farm culture, growing up around grain and why this is a problem that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention until the last few years.
Dave Wisher, who is a part of the Urbana Fire Department’s MABAS 28 Technical Rescue Team, joins us for the last portion of this hour’s Focus. MABAS 28 is a specialty team of firefighters trained to conduct search and rescue in confined spaces. Wisher was involved in efforts to rescue the Sidney, Illinois man who died in a grain entrapment earlier this summer.