By CELESTE BAUMGARTNER
LONDON, Ohio — What do you do to avoid grain entrapment? How dangerous is grain dust, and what should you do about it? What should you do if a farm friend or neighbor seems depressed? Solutions to these and other ag safety issues will be available at the 2021 Farm Science Review.
“We will have the grain cart, which is the farm rescue trailer there, with demonstrations two times a day about grain entrapment,” said Dee Jepsen, State Leader, Ohio State University (OSU) Extension Agricultural Safety and Health Program. “We’ll also have a grain-dust simulator. This is a project where we were trying to determine the type and amount of dust and what it does to our lungs when we’re sweeping out grain bins and working around it.”
There’s information about how the N99 mask and the N95 masks are holding under lots of grain dust accumulation, whether soybean or corn dust, Jepsen said. However, research showed that the single strap “nuisance” masks cannot protect against common grain dust on the farm.
“We have a small poster style display about combine fires,” Jepsen said. “I had a group of capstone students, and they had a survey where they were asking farmers how they put out combine fires and what do they do to prevent combine fires. Our display is showing the results of what the best-practices would be.”
Maintenance is always important, things like cleaning off the chaff, keeping engines and engine compartments well lubricated and cleaned, keeping fire extinguishers charged; if there’s a small fire, sometimes those can be put out quickly.
“The most important part is prevention,” Jepsen explained.
The students started to look into sensors that would give out an alert if a bearing was getting too hot or there was too much heat somewhere. The technology is not yet far enough along in that field, but it may be coming, Jepsen said.
The grain cart and all of the agriculture safety displays are at a new site on Friday Ave. between the Firebaugh Building (384) and the McCormick Building (389). In the past, the Utzinger Garden was there. Farm Stress Relief kits and information on farmer stress will be at the AgrAbility display in the OSU tent.
OSU is providing Farm Stress Relief kits to any ag business, operation, or any farmers that would like to have one, Jepsen said. It’s a plastic box, like a first-aid kit, and inside of it are resources where anyone can go for information if they or someone they know are under stress.
“This is a newer program area for OSU Extension,” Jepsen explained. “We are conducting seminars for mental health first aid and QPR, which is Question, Persuade, Refer. People from soil and water conservation districts, veterinarians, people that work with farmers, could take these classes.”
Then those people can be a little more “in tune” when they encounter a person undergoing more stress than normal, thinking about suicide, or to the point of chronic depression. Service providers are the ones who have regular contact with those farmers.