Property and Casualty Profile – Agriculture
Did You Know?
Thousands of injuries occur on ATVs every year, over 60 percent of which occur in the agriculture industry. In response, OSHA has released an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) safety resource for farms.
Since ATVs present a significant risk to workers on farms, the OSHA safety resource contains guidance to properly train workers in agriculture operations involving ATVs. Make sure to keep workers safe during ATV operations by viewing the resource at https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3758.pdf.
Water Conservation Strategies
The U.S. agriculture industry uses 138 billion gallons of water each day, and as the demand for produce and biofuel increases, so will the demand for water. Because of this, farmers need to make water conservation plans now in order to ensure that their supply will meet production targets.
Farmers interested in water conservation can start by focusing on two practices—efficient irrigation management and healthy soil cultivation.
Efficient Irrigation: Half of all irrigated cropland in the United States is managed inefficiently; usually crops are watered at less than ideal times. To avoid this, monitor the weather to avoid watering after rainfall, or when heat and sun exposure will cause the water to evaporate before it reaches your crops.
Healthy Soil: Since soil absorbs and holds water, keeping your soil healthy is vital. Cover crops can protect bare soil and prevent erosion. Also consider using compost and mulch to cover soil, which will improve its structure and help conserve moisture.
The federal Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) offers financial assistance for water conservation practices, including efficient irrigation systems and cover crops. Go to www.nrcs.usda.gov for more information, and act now to ensure your crops will always have the water they need.
OSHA Small Farm Exemptions
OSHA recently released a clarification to its longstanding “small farm” exemption policy. Small farms—those that employ 10 or fewer workers—are exempt from OSHA regulation enforcement while performing “farming operations that are necessary to gain economic value.” This includes activities such as the on-site storage or sale of grain grown on the farm.
Any action not considered a “farming operation,” such as food processing and manufacturing, is not exempt from OSHA enforcement, and any farms found in violation of regulations during these actions may be subject to fines. For more information on the small farm exemption, go to www.osha.gov.
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