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Tractor Safety Day Kicks Off Farm Safety Week

Iowa Center for Agricultural Safety and Health

The tractor is the leading cause of death on farms, mostly due to no rollover protection. And that's why this year's National Farm Safety Week begins Monday with Tractor Safety Day.

Brandi Janssen is the director of the Iowa Center for Agricultural Safety and Health, based at the University of Iowa. She says tractors were not required to have rollover protection, either a roll bar or cab, until 1986.

"And the thing about tractors is they last a long time - that's a good thing about tractors but it means there are a lot of tractors still in operation that were manufactured before that 1986 date."

Thirty six years later about half of all US tractors still do not have rollover protection - an estimated 90,000 just in Iowa. And the main reason is cost - 1,000 to 1,500 dollars if you can find the right one for your make and model.

The Iowa Center can help with rebates for at least half the cost, but can only set aside 20,000 dollars a year for this program.

A national rebate program is available to pay for some but not all of the cost (https://www.ROPSr4u.org - rops stands for rollover protective structure).

National figures show 80 per cent of rollover deaths happen to experienced farmers, and about 14 per cent of farmers involved in tractor rollovers are permanently disabled.

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.