From the time I was 6 or 8, Imy dad out on our family’s farm. We raised cattle and grew peanuts and wheat. My earliest jobs were helping my dad feed small square bales, hoeing peanuts and many other basic tasks related to Over time, I became more involved in every aspect of the operation. Now, I raise a few cows on a small in Leon, equipment maintenance and repair at the Noble Research Institute.
Safety was something my dad hammered into mean early age. I remember him pointing out different things on the farm, like a rotating PTO shaft on the tractor, and saying “That’ll kill you, son.” It’s a blunt statement, but there’s a lot on the farm – from equipment to animals – that could hurt an adult or child. Safety was part of our it was a mindset my dad learned from his dad. Now that I have children who help me on the farm, I am constantly thinking about keeping them passing that safety mindset on to them.
I want to share with yousafety values passed down in my family.
1. Respect livestock.
Animals’ size and weight candangerous. It’s to give animals their space extra cautious males and mothers with offspring. Dad also taught me the importance of “always having a way in case an animal gets aggressive. That’s something I’ll teach my children as they get older and more closely
2. Respect equipment.
Know what equipment is designed to do, and don’t push it beyond those boundaries. Thisfor both adults and children. As a grownup, it’s neat to put your child in tractor with you. But if you don’t have a buddy seat, you shouldn’t have a passenger. Another piece of equipment commonly misused is a side-by-side utility ATV. I teach my children that these vehicles are pieces of equipment designed to help us work. They aren’t toys.
3. There’s a lot of equipment you don’t need to be close to if you’re not using it.
I tell my kids they should stay at least 60 feet away from me if I’m usinglawnmower or weed-eater. They know not to come up to me from behind. If they attention, they can get my attention from a distance.
4. If you don’t know what something is, don’t mess with it.
Thishazards. My dad always told me, “If I haven’t told you about it, it’s not your business.” I keep power tools and chemicals out of reach, when possible, but I also teach my children they shouldn’t touch things if they don’t know what they are or if they were not to them. My dad’s refrigerator has a shelf in it for cattle vaccines. He made sure we that shelf was for and not to touch it.
5. If you can’t see my eyes, I can’t see you.
I watch for my kids constantly, but kids can come outnowhere. If you’re in a tractor, it would be very easy to not or hear them come to the field. That’s why I tell my kids to be sure I know if they’re in the field and that I them. If they can’t see my can’t see them either.
ABOVE: In 2017, Axel, 11, (middle), and Josh, 9, (right) help their dad, Rodney Pierce, around the family farm while learning the same safety mindset Rodney learned from his father.
RODNEY PIERCE is the ag operations manager of Noble Research Institute and has been with Noble since 2006. This article first appeared in during National Farm Safety Week in 2017. Even though Rodney Pierce’s sons are now 17 and 15, these life-saving farm safety values hold true today for anyone with young children on the farm.