Michael Skwara had his John Deere tractor from the 1960s retrofitted with a rollover bar in the spring.
Skwara — who raises produce, beef, pork and eggs to sell at his farm stand and at farmers markets — said he couldn’t have afforded the bar without a rebate program offered through the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health, an affiliate of Bassett Healthcare Network.
Although he’s never experienced a rollover, he knows farmers who have.
“It is (scary),” he said. “You always think it could have been you.”
Rollovers are the No. 1 cause of farm injury and death. The rebate program, which started in 2006 and slowly expanded to seven states, provides information to farmers on how to find and install the right rollover bar. And it’s given rebates for at least 2,319 rollover bars. Center staff has heard from 19 of those farmers who later rolled over.
The problem is that under President Donald Trump’s proposed budget, the program could face severe cuts.
Research shows that one occupational fatality costs about $1 million, making the program, which has spent about $1.8 million on rebates so far, extremely cost effective, she said.
The program just went national; it’s being led by the National Tractor Safety Coalition and administered by the Northeast Center for Occupational Health and Safety: Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing, another Bassett affiliate and partner of the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health, which limits its work to New York while the Northeast Center works outside the state.
The Northeast Center conducted the research that led to…
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