Ready, Set, Harvest

Brooke Beam, PhD

Agriculture and Natural Resources/Community Development Extension Educator

Ohio State University Extension, Highland County

October 2, 2019


After a rough start to the growing season, the 2019 harvest season has begun in Highland County. This year has been a challenge for even the most patient of farmers, but even if we are excited to be harvesting our grain, it is important to keep safety in mind.

Farmers and other roadway commuters should remember to be mindful of each other. Agricultural equipment is large, slow-moving, and has many blind spots. Allow more room between yourself and agricultural equipment for safety. Be on the lookout for slow-moving vehicle emblems attached to tractors and wagons. Grain trucks generally carry heavy loads and take a considerable distance to stop. Drivers of cars and trucks should remember to drive with caution and provide more distance than normal when entering and exiting the roadways around agricultural equipment and grain trucks.

For farmers, remember to take breaks throughout the day and to take care of yourself. Harvest is a demanding season, and taking care of yourself will help make the process easier. Try to get adequate rest, eat regular meals, and stay hydrated to maintain energy for the long harvesting days. Personal protective equipment, such as gloves and ear plugs are also recommended. Take time to care for your mental health as well. As harvest can be a long and lonely season, try to keep in contact with your friends and family, or take a few minutes to do something that you enjoy.

It is not uncommon to have to stop a combine to remove debris from the combine head. “Even though you are in a hurry to get done, you must always turn off the tractor before you” leave the cab to “check or unclog any piece of equipment” according to Dennis Murphy of Pennsylvania State Extension. Harvest isn’t a race to the finish line, so take extra time to implement safety precautions.

As the harvest season begins, incorporate safety measures into your daily routine to ensure the safety of yourself and others around you. For more information about OSU Extension programming, contact the Highland County Extension Office at 937-393-1918.

Upcoming Programs:

Beef Quality Assurance and Transport Quality Assurance trainings will be held on Monday, October 28, 2019 in Xenia. BQA will start at 5:00 P.M. and BQA transport will be held at 6:30 P.M. The cost for BQA training is $10 per person. Transport BQA is free to attend. Contact the Greene County Extension Office at 937-372-9971 or email by October 24 to register.

Ring in 2019

Brooke Beam, Ph.D.

Ohio State University Extension, Highland County

Agriculture and Natural Resources/Community Development Extension Educator

As 2018 comes to a close, many individuals reflect on the past year and look forward to a prosperous, healthy, and happy New Year in 2019. There are many traditions associated with the New Years celebrations across the globe. For example, did you know that Alud Lang Syne is a Scottish song?

One of my favorite traditions is to ring in the New Year with fireworks. While I enjoy fireworks displays on television, many individuals create their own backyard fireworks displays to enjoy with family and friends. Whether you enjoy the annual New Year celebrations from the comfort of your own home or by lighting your own fireworks displays, safety for both the individuals lighting the fireworks and for those watching the displays in-person are paramount to start the New Year off right.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says that sparklers burn at 1200 °F. In comparison, water boils at 212 °F and wood burns at 575 °F. “In 2013, sparklers caused 41 percent of fireworks injuries,” according to the NFPA. More than half of fireworks-related injuries are burns, but injuries can also include contusions, lacerations, foreign object in the eye and even death, according to the NFPA and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Hand and finger injuries account for 36 percent of fireworks injuries, followed by eye (19 percent), and head, face or ear injuries (19 percent) (NFPA, 2014).

According to Dr. Nicholas Kman and Andrea Whittaker, RN, of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, “fireworks-related injuries are the most common on New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July.” Kman and Whittaker recommend several tips to avoid being injured by fireworks:

  • “Never lean over fireworks when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance right after lighting them.
  • If you find unexploded fireworks, leave them be. Never try to relight or handle them. Soak them with water and throw them away.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move away from them quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks are done burning, douse with plenty of water before throwing them away to prevent a trash fire.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks or fireworks made for professional displays (these will be packaged in brown paper).
  • Parents and caretakers should always closely supervise teens using fireworks.
  • Parents should not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.
  • Only use fireworks outdoors” (Kman & Whittaker, 2018, p. 1).

If you are interested in learning more about fireworks safety or would like to become a certified pyrotechnician, Rozzi Fireworks will be holding an all-day training on April 27, 2018, at the Clinton County Fairgrounds. Registration will be available on their website,, in mid-March. Celebrate the New Year responsibly and have a great start to 2019! For more information about upcoming Highland County Extension programs, contact the office at 937-393-1918.


National Fire Protection Association. (2014). Fireworks Fact Sheet. Retrieved from   reports/Fact     sheets/FireworksFactSheet.pdf.

National Fire Protection Association. (2018). Fireworks Safety Fact Sheet. Retrieved from  

Kman, N., & Whittaker, A. (2018, June 29). Fireworks safety: How you can prevent burns and injuries. Retrieved from


Upcoming Events:

A fifth Beef Quality Assurance Training will be held at Union Stockyards on Tuesday, January 22, 2018, at 6:30 P.M. Please RSVP to the Highland County Extension Office at 937-393-1918.

The next Highland County Master Gardener Volunteer meeting will be held on Thursday, January 17, 2019, at 10 AM in the Large Meeting Room in the basement of 110 Governor Foraker Place, Hillsboro, OH.

Fertilizer and Pesticide Recertifications: 

February 19, 2019

Ponderosa Banquet Center, 545 S. High Street, Hillsboro, Ohio 45133

5:00 pm to 6:00 pm Fertilizer Recertification – Private and Commercial

6:30 pm Pesticide Recertification (Core, 1, 2,3, 4, 5, 6) Private Applicators Only

March 4, 2018

Ponderosa Banquet Center, 545 S. High Street, Hillsboro, Ohio 45133

10:00 am to 11:00 am Fertilizer Recertification – Private and Commercial

11:30 am Pesticide Recertification (Core, 1, 2,3, 4, 5, 6) Private Applicators Only

Registration details will come in the mail from the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Registration for OSU Extension Pesticide and Fertilizer and your renewal application for ODA Pesticide/Fertilizer must both be completed. Meals will be included at each recertification training at Ponderosa.

Grain Bin Safety for Fall

Brooke Beam, PhD

Ohio State University Extension, Highland County

Agriculture and Natural Resources/Community Development Extension Educator

October 10, 2018

The harvest season has begun in southern Ohio. While it is a very busy season for farmers, taking additional time to follow safety practices is an important step to ensuring a safe and successful harvest season. Stress levels during harvest are always high and the hours are long. This year there are added pressures because of the commodity prices and tariffs. Remember, you are the most important part of your farming operation and take precautions to take care of yourself so you can have a safe harvest this year.

One of the easiest safety procedures is to maintain a clean environment around grain bins. While this may be a challenge depending on the design of the grain bin facility, removing excess corn bees wings from concrete can help prevent slick surfaces after rains. Maintaining a clean environment around grain dryers and grain bins also reduces the chance of fires.

Maintaining grain quality in storage is another way to prevent grain fires. According to Nationwide Insurance, “storage and handling of poor quality grain increases the potential for fire and thus personal injury due to exposure to smoke and heat.” Hot spots in grain are particularly dangerous for fires. Grain fire prevention can be achieved through the use of proper aeration and cooling of grain.

In 2017, there were 23 cases of grain entrapment and 12 fatalities in the United States. Between 2007 and 2016, there were 10 fatalities attributed to grain handling and storage in Ohio.  These fatalities were caused by suffocation, entanglement, or being struck or falling from something, according to Rory Lewandowski an Ohio State University Extension Educator.

Safety features on the inside of grain bins can help prevent these types of on-farm fatalities. Having exit ladders and permanent safety ropes inside grain bins are key safety precautions. Always shut off the power to grain moving equipment before entering a bin. Make sure other individuals working with you are aware you are entering the grain bin and that they are able to assist you in the case of an accident. Having small groups of people working together when handling grain has been shown to improve the safety at harvest, according to South Dakota State University.

Safety should be a priority this season for everyone. Remember to keep a clean environment to prevent slick surfaces, enact safety precautions to prevent fires, and work in groups when entering a grain bin to have a successful and accident-free harvest season. For more information about grain bin safety, contact the Highland County Extension Office at 937-393-1918.


Upcoming Events:

Beef Quality Assurance Training: 

  • Thursday, October 25, 2018, 6:30 P.M., Producer Stockyards, Hillsboro, Ohio

Call your local Ohio State University Extension Office to register for the BQA training. The Highland County Extension Office can be reached at 937-393-1918.