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Farm Safety

May 23, 2018 - 1:41pm

Press release:

Today, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer called on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to administratively fund the work being done at the Northeast Center For Occupational Safety And Health For Agriculture, Forestry And Fishing (NEC) on the National tractor rollover protection systems (ROPS) rebate program.

Schumer said ROPS is a vital program, especially considering that farm-related deaths are up to 800 percent higher than many other major industries, with tractor overturns being their most frequent cause at a rate of 96 cases per year.

“ROPS is a critical and cost-effective rebate program that provides important information to farmers across the country on how to find and install the right rollover bar for their machinery. It is imperative that the CDC does everything possible to fund this program to help ensure that farmers and growers have every tool possible to stay safe and succeed,”Senator Schumer said.

The ROPS program facilitates rebates in states with state-based funding to farmers to cover approximately 70 percent of the cost for a farmer to install a ROPS roll bar retrofit kit on their tractor. According to Schumer, the original grant funding for this important program is slated to expire in September, and the CDC has discontinued the funding mechanism to allow for the continued federal investment in this program.

“Keeping family farmers and farm workers who operate dangerous machinery safe must be a major priority. That is why I am the urging the CDC to restore funding for this critical farm safety program and the subsequent research,” Schumer said. “The work done by organizations like the NEC is exactly the type of work the federal government should be investing in: it’s cost-effective, informed by real industry experts, and helps save farmers’ lives every day.

"By slashing available funding to this life-saving organization, we jeopardize successful programs that are providing critical resources to farmers, like a 1-800 safety hot-line number and on the ground experts in rural communities, so farmers can access the ROPS Rebate Program, which helps farmers correctly install rollover bars on their tractors just in case the tractor flips over. We need to do everything possible to make sure we are investing in developing new safety solutions for our farmers and growers. and I will be doing everything possible to make sure this program, which puts farmers first, is protected.”

According to NEC Director, Dr. Julie Sorensen, the program has also been considerably cost-effective with recent economic assessments pointing to a $5 million savings in NY State due to deaths and injuries averted through the program.

As stated by Sorensen, “Senator Schumer’s support for the ROPS program and dedication to the farming community is so essential to ensuring the sustainability of one of our state’s most crucial industries.”

Schumer said the agricultural community is the lifeblood of Upstate New York, and that protecting the well-being and safety of farmers must be a major priority.

In response to the hazardous environment of working on a farm, the Northeast Center For Occupational Safety And Health For Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing launched an effort to create the life-saving ROPS Rebate Program, which covers approximately 70 percent of the cost for a farmer to install a ROPS rollbar kit on their tractor.

In most cases, this means farmers only pay $500 or less for this life-saving equipment that can otherwise cost up to $1,200.

NEC also provides information to farmers throughout the country on how to find and install the right rollover bar.

Since its inception in 2006, the NEC reports that more than 2,150 tractors have been retrofitted with protective structures in seven states, with more than 1,500 of those retrofits occurring in New York State alone. Farmers throughout the country benefit from the hotline and administrative support that is provided through CDC funding.

Furthermore, Schumer said, participants in New York reported 221 close calls and 19 serious incidents in which death or injury was likely without the protective ROPS structures. However, all of this critical outreach and infrastructure surrounding the ROPS program could come to an end if the CDC allows the federal funding for the ROPS program to come to a halt. Schumer said that this program is vital to farmers and growers, and that he will do everything possible to ensure that the CDC administratively funds the program so that the inroads the ROPS program has made can continue.

A copy of the Senator’s letter appears below:

Dear Director Redfield, MD:

"I write to bring attention to a problem which continues to threaten the lives of farmers and growers in Upstate New York and nationwide. As you know, farm-related deaths are 800 percent higher than many other industries, with tractor overturns being the most frequent cause of deaths on farms, at a rate of 96 cases per year. I commend and appreciate the great work being done at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to invest in tractor rollover protection systems (ROPS) and the continued safety of our farmers. However, it has come to my attention that the federal funding for the ROPS program through NIOSH is in jeopardy of coming to an end in September. Therefore, I urge you to work with the Northeast Regional Center in Cooperstown, New York, as well as other NIOSH Centers across the country, in order to administratively fund this important work that saves almost 100 lives a year across the country.

As you know, our agricultural community is the lifeblood of rural America, and protecting the well-being and safety of our farmers must be a majority priority. In response to the hazardous environment of working on a farm, the Northeast Center For Occupational Safety And Health For Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (NEC) launched an effort to create the life-saving ROPS Rebate Program, which covers approximately 70% of the cost for a farmer to install a ROPS rollbar kit on their tractor. In most cases, this means farmers only pay $500 or less for this life-saving equipment that can otherwise cost up to $1,200. NEC also provides information to farmers on how to find and install the right rollover bar. Since its inception in 2006, the NEC reports that more than 2,150 tractors have been retrofitted with protective structures in seven states, with more than 1,500 of those retrofits occurring in New York State alone. However, all of this critical outreach and infrastructure surrounding the ROPS program could come to an end if federal funding comes to a halt.  This is why I urge you to administratively provide funding to the ROPS program, so that the  important inroads the ROPS program has made can continue. 

During these challenging times for our agricultural communities, it is imperative that we do everything in our power to ensure that our farmers and growers have every tool available to succeed. In New York State alone, the ROPS program has been extremely effective in preventing tractor rollover deaths and injuries to our farmers and growers. Feedback from the agricultural community has been extremely positive, with participants in New York reporting 221 close calls and 19 serious incidents in which death or injury was likely without protective structures. This kind of success should be touted and continued, which is why I urge you to ensure that you continue to fund the great work done by the NEC and ROPS as soon as possible.     

I understand that in the current fiscal climate resources are constrained, and as always, I vow to stand with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) throughout the budget process. However, based on the critical importance of protecting the health and safety of our agricultural workers, I ask that you ensure that federal funding continues to flow to the ROPS program past September. I look forward to working with you on this important request."

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer

February 19, 2016 - 4:08pm

Press release:

Currently, 4-H programming features the National Safe Tractor & Machinery Operation Program.  

This course will qualify enrolled 4-H youth ages 14 and 15 years of age to be certified to operate farm equipment for hire. The course is scheduled to run from January through March.

The training program encompasses 32 hours of intensive instruction. Upon the completion of the training, each student will be required to take a 50-question knowledge test with a minimum passing score of 70 percent. Students who successfully pass the knowledge test will be permitted to take the Skills and Driving tests. After passing both the written test and driving tests, the students will receive their formal certification from U.S. Department of Labor.

Parents say the program allows youth to operate equipment legally, be employable, and increases self-confidence, emergency preparedness skills, and knowledge.

Training youth in safer tractor operation is a high priority in Genesee County. Our young people living and working on farms operate a variety of agricultural equipment, including tractors.

Thank you to the tireless volunteers that lead this training, and to the youth that participate. For more information, contact us at 585-343-3040 or visit http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu/

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County is the outreach arm for Cornell University in Genesee County. We provide research based knowledge addressing unmet needs for the residents of Genesee County. We are also the home to 4-H, which is the largest out-of-school youth organization in the United States with more than 6 million youth members.

4-H Clubs, camps, after-school programs, and trips help youth reach their fullest potential.  Members have opportunities to connect to Cornell University, learn through hands-on activities, lead, be inspired, inspire others, and so much more. 4-H helps kids to do better in school, learn to help others, and feel more capable and responsible.

December 4, 2008 - 2:38pm
Course instruction and intensive training in tractor and farm machinery safety, leading to certification is being planned for Saturday mornings at various dealerships in Genesee County beginning on February 14, 2009. 

Classes include general tractor maintenance, safe farm equipment operation and safety issues in general. This training is offered only once a year and is for youth ages 14-15. Please call Amy Berry at 343-3040, ext. 106 to register to receive further information about the class when it becomes available.
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