As a part of National Farm Safety and Health Week, more than one-hundred Illinois farm families were served a complimentary “Meals in the Field” by Farm Credit Services of Illinois.
Mike Lonergan, Vice President of the Jacksonville office of Farm Credit Services of Illinois told Brownfield this is a great opportunity to make the farmers and their families more aware of farm safety.
Lonergan said harvest in his area is 2 weeks to 30 days ahead of schedule due to the drought. Added stress due to the drought has increased the need for the farm safety message.
Farm Credit established the “Meals in the Field” program in 2000 to promote farm safety during the harvest season. All Farm Credit regional offices select at least one farm family to receive lunch on each weekday of Farm Safety Week. The Farm Credit staff serves the food wherever the farmers are working.
Each “Meals in the Field” family was provided a Farm First Aid Kit produced by the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety compliments of Farm Credit.
Farm Credit Services is working in partnership with customers, offering some additional services in this drought year. Communication between the farmer and the Farm Credit Services office is imperative.
Brownfield tagged along with staff from the Jacksonville office to deliver a meal and a farm safety message to the Bill and Amy Welch family near Arenzille.
Safety is a priority for Bill Welch.
“Safety is very important and people are important. I work with the neighbors. We share equipment, work together and harvest together. They are like brothers to me. They are more important than anything getting done in a timely manner. Now their son and son-in-law are helping. I care about them more than anything, so safety is very important.”
Bill and his wife Amy have 4 daughters. They raise corn, beans, and some wheat. Bill told Brownfield that harvest is going fast with smaller yields. Yields are all over the place in the same field – from zero to 200 bushels per acre, which is overall better than he expected. He’s finding a little bit of aflatoxin once in a while and is hauling most of the corn off.
Welch hasn’t started harvesting soybeans yet. He said the beans are still producing a little more weight.
Jim Crum is one of the neighbors with whom Bill Welch farms. Crum farms with his brother Reuel Crum along with his son and son-in-law.
Crum said harvest is going fast with yields down and corn dried down, making quick work of getting through the field. There is a great deal of variability in yields throughout the fields. He said the yields are impacted by different soil types and topography and the moisture-holding capacity of the soils.
Although they haven’t started combining soybeans yet, Crum expects the bean crop to be “average or so.” The late moisutre from the hurricane brought rain, helping the later-planted beans.
With harvest underway, Jim Crum is looking to Washington, D.C. to see what is going on with the Farm Bill. He said it is is very important, especially so farmers know what role it will play in their decisions for the 2013 growing season.