Farming Safely in the Heat

The heat of summer can be a busy time for many farming and ranching operations. As you work in the heat and sun, follow these tips to help ward off heat-related illnesses and injuries for you and your team. Farming and ranching are important, and we want to help you stay safe doing what you do best.

Wear Protective Clothing

When working outdoors in warm climates, OSHA recommends wearing light-colored, loose-fitting and breathable clothing. Additionally, covering up by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants can help protect you from the sun’s harmful rays. Wearing a wide-brim hat and sunglasses that block 99% to 100% UVA and UVB radiation could also protect your face and eyes while working. 

Take Breaks

Taking 15-minute breaks in a cool, shady area at least every two hours while working can help decrease the risk of heat-related illness and fatigue. You could use an outbuilding nearby or the air-conditioned cab of your truck. It could also be helpful to schedule strenuous and demanding tasks in the early morning hours or late evening hours, when the temperature isn’t at its hottest. 

Don’t Forget to Fuel-up

Remember to take time during your workday to drink water and eat sustaining foods/snacks. The CDC recommends drinking one cup of water for every 15 to 20 minutes of moderate activity. Ensuring you’re hydrated throughout the day could lower your risk of heat exhaustion, and it can power you up to continue safely getting work done. As for snacks, consider having fresh fruits, vegetables and salted items to help boost energy and balance electrolytes. 

Know the Symptoms

It is important to know the symptoms and warning signs of heat-related illnesses. You should seek medical attention if you or one of your employees are experiencing these symptoms:

  • Heat exhaustion: This occurs when the body is becoming dehydrated. Some symptoms include profuse sweating, shallow breathing, muscle cramps, irritability, feeling faint or dizzy.
  • Heatstroke: This occurs when the body cannot control its internal temperature and is unable to cool down. Some symptoms include the absence of sweating, pulsating headache, difficulty breathing, lethargy, lack of coordination, unconsciousness, nausea or vomiting.

While you’re working hard and looking out for the health of you and your team, we can help by providing coverage for your farm or ranch. Let us take care of the unexpected and help protect your livelihood with our Farm & Ranch Insurance. Contact an OKFB agent to discuss your farm and ranch needs.

The Basics: Farm & Ranch Insurance

A farm or ranch isn’t like a typical nine-to-five business, which is why we offer many options to ensure your needs are covered. Farm & ranch lines of coverage are detailed and flexible, so you can get covered for certain things like a farm fire, leasing property, constructing a new farm and more. To begin, here are four lines of coverage that you may want to learn more about!

Our farm & ranch line covers items from farm buildings and structures to employer’s liability and animal collision. The policy can also cover things like farm personal property, dwelling, and personal liability. There are multiple coverage options and features available under this policy that are customizable to fit your needs. 

Farm Implement

While the Farm & Ranch policy covers machinery, equipment, supplies and other property owned materials, the farm implement policy covers loss or physical damage to farm implements. Farm implements can include combines, hay balers, cotton pickers, plows, seed drills, etc. Additionally, we offer liability coverage, which helps in the case of a liability claim or lawsuit. 

Farm Auto

Your vehicles are essential to life on the farm. Our Farm Auto policy covers vehicles like a pickup truck, farm truck tractor, trailer and more. If it’s used for farming or ranching, then it can be covered under this policy. Just like when driving a car for personal use, driving accidents can also happen on the job. Our Farm Auto Insurance is flexible, so it can be adjusted to cover your exact needs. Coverage options can include:

  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Collision coverage 
  • Liability 

Crop

No matter what crops you grow, we’re here to help ensure your operations are protected from the elements. Crop Insurance covers crops in the case of unpredictable events, like a heavy hailstorm or tornado. Like Farm & Ranch coverage, our Crop Insurance policy has multiple options and features. Crop Insurance is flexible and detailed, covering options like livestock risk protection, nursery, and annual forage.

Check out our farm and ranch FAQ’s to learn more about our insurance coverage options. Ensure your farm or ranch has the protection it needs by contacting an agent.

Farm Equipment Maintenance Tips

Routine maintenance is important for ensuring the longevity of a car, home and even machines. Here are three things to remember when conducting maintenance on farm equipment!

Schedule

Setting time weekly, monthly or every season to schedule equipment maintenance can help keep farm equipment running in its best condition. Keeping equipment in good shape helps keep your farm running smoothly throughout the year. One option is to schedule maintenance pre-planting, pre-harvest, and in the off-season. This can help ensure your farm equipment is ready for use when needed. 

Inspect

Conducting an inspection can save time in the long run, can help keep you on schedule and help reduce any surprises while on the job. If you’re not sure where to start, reading the owner’s manual can help. Common inspections can include:

  • Testing lights, signals and hazards
  • Inspecting tires and wheel bearings
  • Checking fluids and coolant levels
  • Lubricating chains and cables

Routine Upkeep

Similar to inspections, doing routine upkeep might help prevent a loose fastener from causing big damage. Routine upkeep could include:

  • Replacing worn-out tools or parts
  • Cleaning dirt and debris
  • Filling the tank with fuel
  • Checking or taking note of any possible leaks

Along with taking care of your farm equipment, ensure your farm or ranch has the protection it needs with a Farm & Ranch Insurance policy. Contact an agent today to see how much coverage you may need. As an added bonus, OKFB policyholders are eligible for member benefits that could save you money on farm and ranch equipment.

Develop an Emergency Plan for your Farm or Ranch

From severe weather to unexpected accidents, disaster can strike at any time. Having a plan in place for your farm or ranch during an emergency can help ensure your livelihood is protected, no matter the size of your operation. Follow these guidelines to make sure you’ve addressed the basics for your emergency preparedness plan.

Implement Emergency Routes and Farm Information

An escape plan is necessary to inform workers about how to evacuate the area, what the designated meeting place is and how to account for all people. It is also important to create and keep up-to-date a comprehensive map of the property that shows the locations of buildings, hazardous materials, large machinery, animal pens, electric sources, etc. You’ll want to have a way to receive emergency alerts and warnings in case of inclement weather or natural disasters. 

Create Call Lists

Create a call list that includes all emergency phone numbers. Include employees, neighboring farmers/ranchers, family members, veterinarians, local police/fire/EMT, and food/water resource providers for animals. Keep it posted and in your phone so you can use it in a moment’s notice. Ensure employees also have a copy of the list.  

Have an Evacuation Plan

It’s important to have an evacuation plan for livestock in the event of severe storms, floods or fires on the property. When moving livestock, make sure to plan for enough time to transport. Include food/water provisions for relocating large animals – you’ll want to aim for about a week’s supply of provisions to start with. If your animals will be sharing space with livestock from other farms or ranches, be sure they are up-to-date on vaccinations and are easily identifiable from other animals.

Create a Farm Safety Kit

A farm safety kit can be a huge help during an emergency. This is especially helpful if you or your workers are caught where it may take emergency responders longer to reach. In the kit, be sure to include the emergency call list (mentioned above), bandages, antibiotic ointment, aspirin, cold packs and heating packs, bottles of water, snacks, flashlights, work gloves, protective eyewear, etc. Create and place several of these kits at various buildings/stations across the property. Be sure to clearly note the safety kit locations on the farm map, mentioned above. 

After outlining these key items, inform everyone who may be involved or impacted by the plans. Employees and family members should be aware of what they need to do in the case of an emergency. They also need the necessary items to act in a moment’s notice. Ensure your farm or ranch has protection it needs with a Farm & Ranch Insurance policy. Contact an agent today to see how much coverage you may need.