Safety on the Farm

Whether you would like to understand general safety or more in-depth knowledge of safety to protect yourself, workers, or family members from electrical, ATV, PTO, and other farm hazards, please Click Here to be forwarded to the National Farmers Union web page.  The web site has several videos as well as key pointers to protect you from the hazard.

‘Roots in the ground’ is growing as a mantra among crop farmers experimenting with and using ‘cover crops’. Oats, rye, turnips, radishes, and various seed mixes planted after harvest help protect soil from wind and water erosion, soak up excess nutrients, and build up organic matter. Today, as the soil, water quality, and production benefits of using cover crops are better known, acceptance in interest in the practice are growing. Photo: Fall growth of cover crop in soybeans.

In south central Minnesota the largest number of cover crop acres is being claimed by members of the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Co-op in Renville County. Since 2000, the co-op’s spring cover crop program has expanded to include more than 80 percent of its total of about 120,000 member acres. While most of the co-op’s cover crop acres are planted in spring, some growers are trying fall cover crops, which offer greater benefits.

The co-op’s research and monitoring show an average yield increase of $50 per acre on cover crop fields. “We now understand that it’s good for both the beets and the soil,” says Todd Geselius, vice president of agriculture. Growers receive $4 per acre from the co-op for cover crop seeds, and can also seek technical and financial assistance for fall-planted cover crops from the Renville County SWCD office and Hawk Creek Watershed Project.

The initial incentive came from a requirement in the wastewater permit for the co-op’s Renville beet processing plant. In order to use a different ditch for treated outfall from the plant, the co-op agreed to achieve phosphorus reduction credits with cover crops and livestock exclusion from a ditch at Revier Cattle Company south of Olivia. Since 2005 the co-op has more than doubled the number of phosphorus-reduction credits annually, from the required 6,500 to an average of about 14,600. One credit equals one pound of phosphorus, a nutrient when in water can produce up to 500 pounds of algae. Articles about the co-op’s cover crop program:


Cost-share available from SWCD for fall-planted cover crops

Most of the co-op’s cover crops are being planted in spring, which protects emerging beet plants. Fall-planted cover crops extend the benefits to soil over the winter. The Renville SWCD/Hawk Creek Watershed cost-share program is for fall cover crops to protect the soil, build soil health, feed soil biology, suppress weeds and improve soil structure. “Our program is to provide financial assistance for local farmers to seed a fall cover crop to keep the soil covered through the fall, winter, spring,” says Holly Hatlewick of the Renville SWCD. Renville County producers using fall cover crops are reporting a five- to seven-bushel yield increase on their cash crops the growing season after they have a fall cover crop, Hatlewick says.

Full article:

(Records hit, not just Tons Per Acre)

One of my favorite times of the year is when harvest is underway. The crispness in the air and the smell of what farmers harvest is as pleasing as a warm apple pie out of the oven. When harvest wraps up, I like to go to the local café and listen to the farmers talk about yield and the little kid discussion of what brand of equipment or seed is better.

A new joy for me during this time of year is seeing all of the Cooperative team members working together with a purpose. That purpose is Zero Lost Time Injuries, 100% Environmental Compliance, and Uncompromised Quality. It is a purpose worth working for. We all provide for something, ourselves, our families, our employees, our communities, and our Cooperative.

To our knowledge since the safety records have been kept, this 2017 beet harvest saw the lowest incident rate ever. With the help of everyone working together, we are accomplishing greater things. We thank you for all of your efforts. This would not be accomplished without your commitment and diligence in the process.

Even though we saw our lowest internal incident rate, we experienced a higher amount of shareholder incidents on site. Most of these incidents were in the form of equipment damage
from driving onto the piler. However, there were a few from truck drivers that were getting cut, pinched, or tripping on a pile site. To help out with the recognition of hazards on the pile site, we have developed the Truckers Safety Rules and Truckers Safety video. If you have not viewed them or heard of them before, click on the hyperlink with the name and you will be directed to them.

On a positive note, we are thankful when a shareholder reports an incident. Whether it is minor or severe, it makes us aware of an issue and helps us work to figure out a solution to eliminate the hazard. This can be done by contacting the Agriculturalist or the Harvest Supervisor. Once you have talked with them, they will ask you to complete an incident investigation. This helps us to determine the extent of the incident, what caused it, and what to
do to eliminate the incident in the future.

Your input is also valuable before an incident occurs. If you observe a hazardous situation, please let us know. We all have different things we look at every day. Sometimes it is the difference in our perspective that allows one person to see a potential hazard while another does not. We will work together on a method to minimize or eliminate the situation.

Once again as we put this harvest in the books, Thank You for your efforts on many levels, Safety, Environmental, and Quality. Without your help, the Cooperative would not be what it is today.

In anticipation of the upcoming harvest season, it’s important for those in farming communities to be well-prepared and safe. Long hours, powerful machinery and isolated jobs all make the risk of farm-related injuries, which can often be fatal, quite high. However, remembering a few dependable safety practices and picking up a new tip or two can help you avoid a serious accident.  To read more from the Mayo Clinic article please Click Here.

Tractor Safety

Harvest is fast approaching, though we still have some time to complete some key maintenance on the devices used for harvest and storage of grains.  The article titled “TRACTOR SAFETY: 5 STEPS TO PREP FOR A SAFE HARVEST SEASON”, discusses several steps we may take to help heighten safety surrounding the operation of tractors.  Please Click Here to be directed to the article.  Have a Safe day!

Media Contact:
Stacy L. Bettison

Renville, MN – July 21, 2017. Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative (SMBSC), a farmer-owned producer of refined sugar and sugar beet co-products, announced today it has reached an agreement with its labor union for a five-year labor contract.

The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International AFL-CIO/CLC, Local 369 has voted to accept SMBSC’s offer, the contract effective July 23, 2017, which calls for an increase in wages over five years. Other terms include updates to pension benefits, pension lump sum death benefits and life insurance benefits.

“Our union workforce – which constitutes approximately 400 employees – is critical to the success of our organization,” said Steven Domm, president and chief executive officer of SMBSC. “We respect our employees’ right to collectively bargain, and we are very pleased that both parties came to the table and worked in good faith to reach an agreement that ensures another five years of strong relations and meets both the needs of our valued union members and our organization as a whole. This is a win for our
employees, farmers and community.”

About SMBSC. Founded in 1975, Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative is a producer of refined sugar, liquid sugar, pulp pellets, molasses and separator molasses solubles from sugar beets. Owned by approximately 500 farmer shareholders raising nearly 120,000 acres of sugar beets, the Renville,
Minnesota-based facility slices 3.6 million tons of sugar beets each campaign, producing 800-900 million pounds of sugar.

Over the last year, we have posted several articles which enhance safety on the farm and in the community.  The following link has several videos on topics that we have previously posted.  To see how some of these directly affect us each day, please access this link (Click Here) to be directed to the National Farmers Union.

Planting Safety

Rural roads can be dangerous to travel, especially during planting and harvest.  An article from Nationwide discusses some of the additional hazards rural areas face, as well as some key actions to take to heighten safety.  Please click here to be directed to the article.  Have a Safe Planting Season.

Farm planting safety tips

With planting season upon us, it is an optimistic time of year.  It can also be a dangerous time as well.  Roadways not only being operated on by motor vehicles, but also farm vehicles can cause hazards on the roadways but also on the farm site as well.  An article written by the United Soybean Board has an excellent article on planting safety.  Click Here to be directed to the article.

Spring Driving Tips

Additional hazards exist on Minnesota’s road ways during spring time weather.  The Minnesota Safety Council has an article that provides tips to help drivers be more alert in a variety of situations.  Please Click Here to be directed to the article.  Safe Travels!