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Weathering Tough Times in Rural Areas - Managing the Most Important Part of the Business
Keeping Your Family First
In agriculture, the long days, strenuous work, harsh weather, and high costs of doing business can take quite a toll on the physical and mental health of individuals. One of the aspects of agriculture that sets it apart from other professions is the potential hazards of the work environment. Machinery and livestock can be unpredictable and often unforgiving. Being alert and careful is not an option, it is a necessity. Farm and ranch accidents can occur in an instant.
Here is an example of how it could happen: It has been a long day, your are tired and trying to do one more thing before the day ends. You start thinking about tomorrow - what has to be done, what needs to be fixed, who will do what task and when will it get done. In an instant your thinking about these things and your attention wonders - and you have just set the stage for a potential accident. It could be as innocent as missing the step on the tractor as you step down or as deadly as getting too close to a power takeoff shaft or auger intake. When your body and mind are tired, reaction times slow down which multiples the likelihood for an accident.
As business owners and operators, farmers and ranchers often forget that they are their businesses most valuable resource. Taking care of that resource is part of taking care of their business. Staying alert, avoiding questionable shortcuts, following all safety procedures, and knowing when to "call it a day" are good management practices... period. With the multitude of weather related challenges this year, these management practices are worth remembering.
- Dr. Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel, Community & Economic Development Specialist, University of Nebraska Pandhandle Research & Extension Center
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Photo Credit - Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources - University of Nebraska-Lincoln