Senior Advisor
Posts: 3,228
Registered: ‎04-30-2010

NY Times Diatribe On Bin Safety

It's always interesting to see what outsiders say about procedures in agricutlure.  It's particularly interesting to note they feel qualified to judge us, without having stood in our shoes or walkedin our footsteps. Here is a New York Times article that is long on emotion and short  understanding.  It is the common reaction of "pass a new law" which is not appropriate to the situation.  Then people wonder why we ignore laws.

The resistance of the ag community to these over-reaching rules is entirely appropriate.

Back when I was young, it was common to see men with a hook instead of an arm because they thought they could free a corn stalk faster than a snapping roll could pull it in.  They couldn't.  Some lost two hands as they tried to save one.  Education and different equipment changed that.  You virtually never see a farmer with a hook caused by a snapping roll anymore.  First we know better.  Secondly, up in the combine cab your first reaction is not to get down, walk around a 6 or 12 row head and pull the offending plug out.  Thirdly, there is a reverser on the gathering chains.  Last night I had half a dozen plugs in downed corn and didn't have to get out of the combine to clear any of them.

Grain bins and silos have been around for a long time in agricultural production and on the family farm.  Bins are getting increasingly popular on the farm and are getting bigger and more automated.  Farmers are learning a lot about how to operate them safely and effectively.

The way to stop deaths in bins and silos is to prevent the circumsntances from happening that cause people to do dangerous things in them.  If you dry the corn or soybeans properly and have a good unloading system, the grain won't bridge and you never have to get in to dislodge it.  When grain is allowed to cake or bridge, you are setting the stage for trouble.

It's not in any farmer's interest to have someone hurt in any way.  Laws that are viewed as intrusive and inappropriate don't stop people for taking certain actions.  All it means is that after a family loses a son or daughter to an accident, the government comes in and fines them so much they also lose the farm.  why don't you just take them out and shoot them?

Farming is increasingly a solitary occupation.  I know nearly as many older men farming alone as I do families farming.  These older men are going to use caution but they are not going to call in their neightbor to hold a rope while they get into a grain bin to fix a bad wire on a stirring machine.  Just another law made to be broken.  Glad we stopped it in time.