Thank you to another blog reader who submitted the following question:
Q: “I’ve heard of kids working on the farm when they’re really young. Don’t you think it’s dangerous and inappropriate for such young children to be around big equipment?”
A: Growing up on a farm, I worked around and operated farm equipment. It was my family’s livelihood. Like with anything, there are dangers, but my parents would not have purposely put me in danger just as I wouldn’t put my own children in danger.
These days farm equipment has become more and more safe. For instance, a tractor now has an extra seat with a seatbelt for an individual to ride in. Tractors are also equipped with cabs which makes them safer to ride in. Tractors have safety switches that will turn the tractor off if the wrong lever gets pushed or pulled. The PTO (power take off), probably the most dangerous part of the tractor, is not easily operated by a child because the lever is spring-loaded. PTO’s also have guards to protect someone or something from getting caught in it.
On our farm/ranch we have strict rules about when a piece of farm equipment is being operated. For instance, if a tractor is started, my children are taught that they need to move to the side and in view of the operator. Farm equipment is only truly as dangerous as the person who is operating it.
On another note, horses and cattle can also be viewed as a danger for children, however, I make sure that my children only ride a horse that they can handle. If we have a mean cow, she gets sold. We take no chances when it comes to the safety of our children!
Farming and ranching is one of the only livelihoods that I know of that allows children to go to work with their parents. My two children stay with me two days a week. I am very blessed to be able to take them with me. I am lucky enough to be able to teach them responsibility at an early age, as well as important life lessons that they will carry with them forever. Just like other parents, my number one concern is the safety of my children. Farm and ranch parents take every precaution possible to make sure that their children are safe and that farm/ranch equipment is used properly.
– Tim and Stephanie Hruby, Dawes County Farm Bureau members and Nebraska Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee members
Keep asking great questions! Our Nebraska farmers and ranchers look forward to explaining what they do every day to produce safe food for you and your family.