- Associated Press - Thursday, October 16, 2014

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota safety advocates are concerned about the amount of grain that will end up in storage bins and elevators this year due to a record harvest and low price point.

The risk of farm-related accidents can be increased by bigger crop yields because farmers feel pressured to work harder, according to Dan Martens, educator with the University of Minnesota Extension Service in Benton County. The longer hours and days fueled by stress can cause farmers to be less concerned about their own safety, he said.

This year’s Minnesota corn harvest could reach more than 1.3 billion bushels, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The nationwide harvest is expected to break records at more than 14 billion bushels.

Many farmers held onto some of last year’s crop in hopes that prices would start to increase again, according to Adam Czech, spokesman with the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.

“Once they start harvesting this year’s crop, they’re going to have to move last year’s crop if they haven’t already,” he said.

Widespread railway delays are also adding to concerns because they could cause even more farmers to send their grain to bins and elevators.

With an increased need for storage, farmers may also be tempted to use older bins with outdated designs that aren’t as safe and cause many farmers to climb in to address movement issues, according to Czech.

Farming is considered one of the most dangerous professions in the world, with grain bin accidents being one of the leading causes of injury and death among farmers, the St. Cloud Times (https://on.sctimes.com/1sCYUJZ ) reported. More than 900 grain-bin entrapments have occurred throughout the U.S. since 1964, as reported by the Center for Public Integrity and National Public Radio. A majority were fatal.


Information from: St. Cloud Times, https://www.sctimes.com

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