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Farm Families Face Growing List of Harvest Safety Reminders

Farm Families Face Growing List of Harvest Safety Reminders
For farm wives like Julie Fleming of rural Olney, the spring planting season started with the coronavirus challenges of working remotely from home as a high school math teacher, helping her three children with their remote learning at home and assisting with farm tasks. While she values the fact she and her children have returned to in-person school this fall, she is also concerned about how their exposure to others may affect harvest this year.
As a professional teacher, Julie is doing in-person teaching but runs the risk of an extended quarantine period for her and her family if she’s exposed at school.
“We have to think about how much we want to be around the farm help, some of whom may have pre-existing health conditions and who may be susceptible to serious outcomes if they contract the coronavirus,” she said. Depending on the spread of the coronavirus, it could potentially be a long harvest season,” she said.
Health during harvest for the farm staff is just one part of this big puzzle.
As the soybean and corn harvest season begins in central Illinois, Carle Center for Rural Health & Farm Safety (RHFS) commemorates National Farm Safety and Health Week 2020 by acknowledging the added pressures and risks that women farmers are facing this year.
Women are among farmers and supporters of agriculture in this country. In fact, 30 percent of US farmers are women while others are in sales, veterinary roles or work outside the farm to support the family. During this time of a pandemic, women on farms have added coronavirus to the list of safety concerns for their families.
RHFS Program Coordinator Amy Rademaker said, “This past spring for many was very stressful but the class requirements weren’t as rigorous on students as they are this fall.” 
Many farm wives are wearing more hats than ever before.
“When thinking about priorities, being a parent has to be first. Keep our kids healthy and safe.  One of the best things I can recommend as a mom myself is to think about many what ifs and have a plan for each,” Rademaker said. 
A large part of stress can be attributed to the unknown and while no one can be certain what will happen next, if we prepare, for many, this can provide some piece of mind.   
For more farm health and safety tips, visit the Carle Center for Rural Health & Farm Safety at

Categories: News

Tags: agriculture, Champaign-Urbana, farming, Rural Health and Farm Safety, Women's Health