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Safety was the top priority Wednesday, March 20 during the Delaware Farm Bureau’s annual Ag Safety Conference held at Loblolly Acres in Viola.

Hosted by the DEFB’s Promotion & Education Committee in partnership with Nationwide and the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, the annual event featured innovative safety solutions, as well as tips and tricks for farmers to take back to their own fields and operations.

“It was a great day. I think it was wonderful,” Chair June Unruh said, adding that attendance this year was the best the group has seen so far.

“During our annual banquet last year, we received a Delaware Farm Bureau book from 1963 and some of the things in there, like road safety, were things we’re still talking about today,” she explained. “There was a section in there about farm tractors and traffic and that was, what, 60 years ago and we’re still talking about it. It’s an important topic and it needs to be talked about all the time.”

Unruh has helped to organize the Safety Conference for years, emphasizing the importance of learning the various aspects of risks associated with farming, working outside and other factors.

“Safety is more than reading a safety brochure or looking at a safety poster; it needs to be a part of who we are and a part of our everyday life,” she said. “You have to be consistent, too. You can’t just do it sometimes because that’s when accidents happen. You have to practice safety all of the time and you should make it a part of your day so when others observe you, maybe they can take away something from that experience and make it a part of their life, too.”

DEFB Executive Director Don Clifton and Kent County Farm Bureau President Jim Minner drove home that point in their presentation on Improving Road Safety for Farm Equipment.

“This is all very important information. It’s critical that we take the time to learn about safety measures or to be reminded of how we can keep ourselves, our families, our farmworkers and our consumers safer while around the farming operation,” Clifton said.

Other speakers brought more safety concerns to light for attendees, hoping to offer a variety of topics for farmers and consumers alike to consider.

Todd McMullen from Great Hearing Benefits, a member benefit for Delaware Farm Bureau members, spoke to the group about Hearing Loss and protection. Chuck Thomp, director of customer relations and strategy for eFire USA, spoke to the realities of fire risks which are sometimes overlooked while presenting on Fire Realities Mitigating the Risk, Protecting Property & Lives Through Pre-Planning & Awareness. Dr. Kerry Richards of the Pheonix Agriculture Safety and Health (PCASH) rounded out the day with a presentation on pesticides.

“What was most exciting was that we had all ages this year. I could look out into the crowd and see farmers of all kinds, all ages, and that’s what we really want to see at Farm Bureau events. We want to support the younger generation, especially, by helping them start with a firm foundation. Safety certainly plays a part in that,” Unruh said.

For more information or to register for the 7th annual Safety Conference, please visit or call the Delaware Farm Bureau state office at 302-697-3183.

Post Author: Mikayla Paul

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