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Articles from 2002 In September


USDA announces advance CC payment rates

USDA said producers with wheat, corn, grain sorghum, barley, oats, soybean and other oilseeds base acreage will not receive an advance or what officials are calling a “first partial counter-cyclical payment” because the projected 2002 effective prices exceed the target prices for each of those commodities.

Farmers may also request the balance of their 2002 direct payment at signup. Although signup is scheduled to begin tomorrow, there was some question about how many county offices would be ready to process applications. Signup for the new farm bill will continue through June 2, 2003.

“Grain and oilseed rates are zero because reduced production of those crops around the world has led to declining inventory levels and sharply higher U.S. farm prices,” USDA said in a press release. “Expected farm prices for the 2002 crops are now above the levels that would trigger counter-cyclical payments.”

The press release explained that producers are eligible for counter-cyclical payments only if effective prices are less than the target prices set in the 2002 Farm Bill. After program participants elect their base and yield options beginning Oct. 1, they may also request their first partial counter-cyclical payment, which is equal to 35 percent of the entire projected rate.

For each commodity, the counter-cyclical payment equals the counter-cyclical payment rate times 85 percent of the farm’s base acreage times the farm’s counter-cyclical payment yield for crops.

“The counter-cyclical payment rate is the amount by which the target price of each covered commodity exceeds its effective price,” USDA said. “The effective price equals the direct payment rate plus the higher of: (1) the national average market price received by producers during the marketing year, or (2) the national loan rate for the commodity.”

After counter-cyclical payment rates are re-estimated in January, a second counter-cyclical payment may be issued to producers. These payments will be up to 70 percent of the projected counter-cyclical payment, less any counter-cyclical payments already received.

Final counter-cyclical payments will be determined at the end of the respective marketing year for each crop. Producers who receive total partial payments exceeding the actual counter-cyclical payment for each respective crop must repay any excess amounts.

Producers may request their 2002 direct payments anytime during the sign-up period. For each commodity, the direct payment equals the direct payment rate times 85 percent of the farm’s base acreage times the farm’s direct payment yield.

Direct payments are similar to production flexibility contract (PFC) payments under the 1996 farm bill, but also now include oilseeds and peanuts as eligible commodities. Most producers have already received their 2002 production flexibility contract payments. After producers enroll in the new direct and counter-cyclical payment program any PFC payments already received will be deducted from the 2002 crop year direct payments.

Direct payment rates for cotton will be 6.67 cents per pound; rice, $2.35 per hundredweight; for corn, 28 cents per bushel; for sorghum, 35 cents per bushel; for wheat, 52 cents per bushel; and for soybeans, 44 cents per bushel.

For more information on the direct and counter-cyclical payment program, contact your local USDA Service Center.

e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com

USDA announces advance CC payment rates

Peanut growers can request an advance counter-cyclical payment of $36.40 per short ton under the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act, which totally revamped the peanut program that those farmers had operated for more than 60 years.

USDA said producers with wheat, corn, grain sorghum, barley, oats, soybean and other oilseeds base acreage will not receive an advance or what officials are calling a “first partial counter-cyclical payment” because the projected 2002 effective prices exceed the target prices for each of those commodities.

Farmers may also request the balance of their 2002 direct payment at signup. Although signup is scheduled to begin tomorrow, there was some question about how many county offices would be ready to process applications. Signup for the new farm bill will continue through June 2, 2003.

“Grain and oilseed rates are zero because reduced production of those crops around the world has led to declining inventory levels and sharply higher U.S. farm prices,” USDA said in a press release. “Expected farm prices for the 2002 crops are now above the levels that would trigger counter-cyclical payments.”

The press release explained that producers are eligible for counter-cyclical payments only if effective prices are less than the target prices set in the 2002 Farm Bill. After program participants elect their base and yield options beginning Oct. 1, they may also request their first partial counter-cyclical payment, which is equal to 35 percent of the entire projected rate.

For each commodity, the counter-cyclical payment equals the counter-cyclical payment rate times 85 percent of the farm’s base acreage times the farm’s counter-cyclical payment yield for crops.

“The counter-cyclical payment rate is the amount by which the target price of each covered commodity exceeds its effective price,” USDA said. “The effective price equals the direct payment rate plus the higher of: (1) the national average market price received by producers during the marketing year, or (2) the national loan rate for the commodity.”

After counter-cyclical payment rates are re-estimated in January, a second counter-cyclical payment may be issued to producers. These payments will be up to 70 percent of the projected counter-cyclical payment, less any counter-cyclical payments already received.

Final counter-cyclical payments will be determined at the end of the respective marketing year for each crop. Producers who receive total partial payments exceeding the actual counter-cyclical payment for each respective crop must repay any excess amounts.

Producers may request their 2002 direct payments anytime during the sign-up period. For each commodity, the direct payment equals the direct payment rate times 85 percent of the farm’s base acreage times the farm’s direct payment yield.

Direct payments are similar to production flexibility contract (PFC) payments under the 1996 farm bill, but also now include oilseeds and peanuts as eligible commodities. Most producers have already received their 2002 production flexibility contract payments. After producers enroll in the new direct and counter-cyclical payment program any PFC payments already received will be deducted from the 2002 crop year direct payments.

Direct payment rates for cotton will be 6.67 cents per pound; rice, $2.35 per hundredweight; for corn, 28 cents per bushel; for sorghum, 35 cents per bushel; for wheat, 52 cents per bushel; and for soybeans, 44 cents per bushel.

For more information on the direct and counter-cyclical payment program, contact your local USDA Service Center.

e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com

Watch KCBT $4.50 and $5

The KCBT Dec wheat contract has also established a ceiling at $4.88. If the KCBT Dec price hits $4.88, watch the volume (number of contracts traded). If daily volume is less than 23,000, the rally is weak and prices are trying to make a top. Volume of 23,000 or more will imply that the rally still has strength and will be expected to increase to $5.

Weather will determine whether wheat prices continue the upward price trend. The market is watching the Argentine and Australian wheat crops. Argentina’s wheat producers planted about four percent less wheat than last year. Reports indicate that Argentina’s wheat production is expected to be 514 million bushels compared to 570 million bushels last year and a five-year average of 554 million bushels.

Three major wheat areas in Australia have been experiencing a drought. Recent rains in these areas have helped production expectations. Australia’s wheat production is predicted to be 551 million bushels compared to 881 million bushels last year and a five-year average of 833 million bushels.

When evaluating Argentina and Australia’s wheat production, remember that the market has a tendency to underestimate short crops and overestimate big crops. Both Argentina and Australia (especially Australia) are expected to produce short crops. A negative U.S. price impact would result from larger than currently expected production.

United States wheat stocks are the tightest since 1995.United States wheat ending stocks are projected to be 407 million bushels compared to a 10-year average of 670 million bushels.

Foreign wheat stocks are the tightest since 1988 at 4.57 billion bushels compared to a 10-year average of 5.4 billion bushels.

World-ending stocks are the tightest since 1982 and are projected to be 5 billion bushels compared to 6.3 billion bushels.

“How fast can wheat stocks increase and prices decline? ”For ending stocks to reach average, U.S. production must be 263 million bushels (407 – 670) greater than consumption and foreign wheat production must be 1.73 billion bushels above consumption.

The five-year average annual U.S. wheat consumption is 2.34 billion bushels. Five-year average foreign consumption is 20.3 and the five-year average world consumption is 21.6 billion bushels.

For production to result in average wheat-ending stocks in the 2003/04 wheat marketing year, 2003 U.S. production would have to be nearly 2.6 billion bushels (11% above average) and world production would have to be 22.9 billion bushels. Record world production was 22.4 billion bushels in 1997.

It appears that wheat producers are planting “fencerow to fencerow” and applying fertilizer. Sparks Company projected that U.S wheat acres will rise 1.6 million acres in 2003.Winter wheat acres are projected to increase 2.3 percent and spring wheat increase 3.8 percent.

Currently, the KCBT July 2003 wheat contract price is $3.78.The harvest basis in central Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle averages about a minus 30 cents. This implies that the market is offering about $3.48 per bushel for 2003-harvested wheat. Some producers are wondering if they should take advantage of this price.

A below average U.S and foreign 2003 wheat crop could cause U.S. wheat prices to increase to $7.Above average wheat production could cause KCBT wheat prices to fall to $3.25 by September 2003.

Wheat prices over the next eight months are anybody’s guess. One thing for certain is that it will be a weather market with big moves both up and down. The way to manage volatile markets is to sell small lots at a time.

Kim Anderson is an Extension Agricultural Economist with Oklahoma State University.

Co-op selects Claxton as oilseed plant site

The FOC site selection committee had considered other potential sites in Alamo, Baxley and Cordele before choosing Claxton.

This past summer, the committee met with representatives of eight communities before narrowing their list of candidates for the plant, which will employ 55 to 60 people.

"This was one of the major steps we needed to take," says Billy Wayne Sellers, southeast Georgia farmer and president of the year-old co-op. "The biggest thing was their low millage rate. They had a good package."

Railroad and interstate highway connections also figured into the decision. The 80-acre plant site in Evans County is not expected to need much preparation to accommodate the new building, according to FOC officials.

The co-op will work to develop delivery points using existing grain elevators in areas remote from the plant. This way, growers who are located away from the plant won’t have far to truck their corps. The co-op’s Number One priority now is to sell production shares to farmers, says George Shumaker, University of Georgia Extension economist who has advised the co-op throughout its development.

Building the plant and beginning operations will require between 750 and 800 shareholders with average commitments of 275 acres each to the co-op. Minimum investments will be 1,500 shares at $2.25 per share.

FOC officials are planning to begin selling the stock during the fall and winter production meetings. Two types of shares will be offered. Class A shares will be production stock for farmers, committing them to grow oilseed crops for the co-op and committing the co-op to buy from the farmers. Class B shares will be offered to investors.

Co-op shareholders should receive a premium for their crop, says Shumaker, and farmers will own the product until it arrives on grocery store shelves.

Veneman designates 10 disaster states

The disaster declaration for the states of Kansas, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming makes farmers and ranchers in these counties immediately eligible for USDA low-interest emergency (EM) loans.

"USDA and the Bush Administration are continuing to provide relief for our nation’s farmers and ranchers," said Veneman in a statement issued with the declaration. "This designation will assist those farmers and ranchers who have sustained losses due to extreme weather conditions."

Missouri counties named primary disaster areas include Adair, Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Chariton, Howard, Knox, Laclede, Lafayette, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, Moniteau, Scott and Wayne.

This designation is in response to hail, tornadoes, high winds, flooding and unseasonably cool temperatures, according to the announcement.

Boone, Butler, Camden, Carter, Clark, Cole, Cooper, Dallas, Iron Jackson, Johnson, Lewis, Linn, Livingston, Miller, Mississippi, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, New Madrid, Perry, Pettis, Pike, Pulaski, Putnam, Randolph, Ray, Reynolds, Saline, Schuyler, Scotland, Shelby, St. Charles, St. Francois, Stoddard, Sullivan, Texas, Warren, Webster and Wright Counties are also eligible for assistance because they are contiguous.

North Carolina counties named primary disaster areas include Allegheny, Ashe, Avery, Madison, Mitchell, Watauga and Yancey. This designation is in response to abnormally low temperatures that occurred from May 19 through May 23, 2002. Haywood County is also eligible for assistance because it is contiguous.

Tennessee counties declared primary disaster areas are Carter, Johnson, Lauderdale, Morgan, Scott and Shelby. Contiguous counties are Anderson, Campbell, Crockett, Cumberland, Dyer, Fayette, Fentress, Haywood, Johnson, Pickett, Roane, Sullivan, Tipton, Unicoi and Washington. Designations in Tennessee are due to spring freezes, flooding, wind and inadequate rainfall.

The Virginia county of Carroll has been declared a primary disaster area due to frost and freeze that occurred from May 19 through May 23, 2002. Floyd, Galax City, Grayson, Patrick, Pulaski and Wythe Counties are also eligible for assistance because they are contiguous.

This designation makes all qualified farm operators in primary and contiguous disaster counties eligible for low-interest EM loans from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for the loans to help cover part of their actual losses.

FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.

USDA has a variety of programs available in addition to the EM program to help eligible farmers recover from adversity, including the recently announced $752 million Livestock Compensation Program.

Other USDA programs include the Emergency Conservation Program to help producers rehabilitate farmlands damaged by natural disasters; the Federal Crop Insurance program, which provides indemnities for production and revenue losses; and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, which provides financial assistance to eligible producers affected by natural disasters.

In addition, through the Conservation Reserve Program acreage, USDA has made emergency haying and grazing available in areas suffering from weather-related natural disasters.

Interested farmers may contact their local FSA offices for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures. Additional information is also available online at: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/pas/disaster/assistance1.htm.

e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com

COLUMN: FB summarized as signup begins

The 2002 farm bill, as it is commonly called, will be in effect from 2002 to 2007. Table 1 shows the loan rates, direct payment rates, and target prices for the life of the legislation. To see this and other tables referenced and a complete text of this article, go to the link at the end.

Payment eligibility:To receive payments on crops covered by the program (wheat, corn, grain sorghum, barley, oats, rice, upland cotton, soybeans, other oilseeds, and peanuts), a producer enters into an agreement for 2002-07.

Farmers are given almost complete flexibility in deciding which crops to plant. Participating producers are permitted to plant all cropland acreage on the farm to any crop, except for some limitations on planting fruits and vegetables. The land must be kept in agricultural uses (which includes fallow) and farmers must comply with certain conservation and wetland provisions.

Payment Limits: Payment limitations continue at $40,000 per person for direct payments. A limit of $65,000 is set for counter-cyclical payments. Marketing loan benefits are limited to $75,000. Producers with adjusted gross income of over $2.5 million, averaged over 3 years, are not eligible for payments, unless more than 75 percent of adjusted gross income is from agriculture.

Timing of Payments: A producer could elect to receive up to 50 percent of the direct payment beginning Dec. 1 of the year prior to the year the crop is harvested, and the balance of the direct payment in October of the year the crop is harvested. For counter-cyclical payments, a producer can receive up to 35 percent of the projected payment in October of the year the crop is harvested; an additional 35 percent beginning in February of the following year; and the balance after the end of the 12-month marketing year for the specific crop.

Three-Entity Rule: The three-entity rule is maintained. Under the three-entity rule, an individual farmer could receive up to twice the payment per year in total contract payments and marketing loan gains on three separate farming operations (a full payment on the first operation and up to a half payment for each of two additional entities).

Commodity Certificates: Authority for use of commodity certificates is retained. Commodity certificates could be purchased at the posted county price for wheat, feed grains, and oilseeds or at the effective adjusted world price for rice or upland cotton. The certificates are available so that producers could immediately acquire crop collateral pledged to the CCC for a commodity loan. Use of certificates was authorized in 1999.b>

Direct Payments: Fixed direct payments (DP) replace production flexibility contract (PFC) payments (sometimes referred to as AMTA payments). Payment rates for wheat, corn, barley, grain sorghum, oats, upland cotton, and rice are fixed in the 2002 Farm Act. (See Table 2.) Soybeans, other oilseeds, and peanuts are also covered under new rules established in the 2002 Farm Act.

Under this new program, farmers and eligible landowners receive annual fixed direct payments (DPs). The amount of the payment is equal to the payment rate of the applicable base crop multiplied by the payment acres times the payment yield for the farm. For example the payment for an individual rice farmer is

DPrice = (Payment rate)rice x (Payment yield)rice x [(Base acres)rice x 0.85]

To receive payments on crops covered by the program (wheat, corn, grain sorghum, barley, oats, rice, upland cotton, soybeans, other oilseeds, and peanuts), a producer enters into an agreement for 2002-07.

Program payment yields are unchanged for those crops previously covered under the PFC program. For soybeans and other oilseeds, which were added to the program, payment yields are the farm’s average yields for 1998 to 2001, multiplied by the national average yield for 1981-85, divided by national average yield for 1998-2001.

The payment limit on direct payments is $40,000 per person, per crop year, and the three-entity rule is retained. Under the three-entity rule an individual can receive a full payment directly and up to a half payment from two additional entities.

Fixed direct payments are not tied to production of specific crops, the amount of production, or the price of the crop. With planting flexibility farmers are not confined to producing crops for which they are receiving fixed decoupled payments. Planting decisions are based on expected market prices and variable costs of production.

Marketing Assistance Loans and LDPs: Loan rates for wheat, feed grains, and upland cotton are increased from previously legislated maximums. (See Table 3.) Loan rates for soybeans and minor oilseeds are reduced from previously legislated maximums. Loan rates are fixed in legislation. Also, marketing loan provisions were added for peanuts, wool, mohair, and honey.

Commodity loan programs allow producers of designated crops to receive a loan from the government at a commodity-specific loan rate per unit of production by pledging production as loan collateral. After harvest, a farmer may obtain a loan for all or part of the new commodity production.

Commodity loans may be repaid in three ways:

  1. At the loan rate plus interest costs (CCC interest cost of borrowing from the U.S. Treasury plus 1 percentage point);
  2. By forfeiting the pledged crop to the CCC at loan maturity; or
  3. At the alternative loan repayment rate

Loan program benefits can also be taken directly as loan deficiency payments. When market prices are below the loan rate, farmers are allowed to repay the commodity loans at a lower loan repayment rate.

Marketing loan repayment rates are based on local, posted county prices (PCPs) for wheat, feed grains, and oilseeds, or on the prevailing world market price for rice and upland cotton. PCPs are calculated and posted by the government each day the Federal government is open, except for minor oilseeds which are calculated weekly. Prevailing world market prices for rice and upland cotton are also calculated on a weekly basis.

When a farmer repays the loan at a lower PCP or prevailing world market price, the difference between the loan rate and the loan repayment rate, called a marketing loan gain, represents a program benefit to producers. In addition, any accrued interest on the loan is waived. When a marketing loan gain is received on a given collateralized quantity, that quantity is not eligible for further loan benefits.

Alternatively, eligible farmers may choose to receive marketing loan benefits through direct loan deficiency payments (LDPs) when market prices are lower than commodity loan rates. The LDP option allows the producer to receive the benefits of the marketing loan program without having to take out and subsequently repay a commodity loan. The LDP rate is the amount by which the loan rate exceeds the posted county price or prevailing world market price, and thus is equivalent to the marketing loan gain that could alternatively be obtained for crops under loan. When an LDP is paid on a portion of the crop, that portion cannot subsequently be used as collateral for another marketing loan or LDP.

The payment limit on marketing loan gains and loan deficiency payments is $75,000 per person, per crop year. The three-entity rule is retained. Under the three-entity rule an individual can receive a full payment directly and up to a half payment from each of two additional entities.

Commodity certificates can be purchased at the posted county price for wheat, feed grains, and oilseeds or at the effective adjusted world price for rice or upland cotton. The certificates are available for producers to use immediately in acquiring crop collateral pledged to the CCC for a commodity loan. These provisions enable producers who are facing payment limits an opportunity to benefit from the lower loan repayment rates.

Counter-Cyclical Income Support Payments: Counter-cyclical income support payments are a new program. This program was developed to provide an improved counter-cyclical income safety net to replace most ad hoc market loss assistance payments that were provided to farmers during 1998-2001. Payments are based on historical production and are not tied to current production.

Under this new program, counter-cyclical payments (CCPs) are available for covered commodities whenever the effective price is less than the target price. (See Table 4.) The payment amount is equal to the product of the payment rate, the payment acres, and the payment yield.

For example the payment for an individual rice farmer is determined as

Payment raterice = (Target price)rice –– (Direct payment rate)rice –– (Higher of commodity price or loan rate)rice

CCPrice = [(Base acres)rice x 0.85] x (Payment yield)rice x (Payment rate)rice

To receive payments on crops covered by the program (wheat, corn, grain sorghum, barley, oats, rice, upland cotton, soybeans, minor oilseeds, and peanuts), a producer enters into an agreement for 2002-07 during a one-time enrollment period.

The payment limit on counter-cyclical payments is $65,000 per person, per crop year, and the three-entity rule is retained. Under the three-entity rule an individual can receive a full payment directly and up to a half payment from each of two additional entities.

CCPs support and stabilize farm income when commodity prices are less than target.

To see the tables and a complete text of this article, click on the following link:

http://www.aragriculture.org/agfoodpolicy/DFP/select_provisions.asp. For more information, contact Dr. Bobby Coats, University of Arkansas Extension Service, rcoats@uaex.edu.

Sources of Information:

Congressional 2002 Farm Bill Short Summary http://agriculture.house.gov/fbconfsum.pdf

Congressional 2002 Farm Bill Comprehensive Summary http://agriculture.house.gov/2626fullsum.pdf

Full Farm Bill Text and The Narrative Statement of Managers http://agriculture.house.gov/fbconfrpt.htm

USDA's 1996 and 2002 Farm Bills Side-By-Side Comparison http://www.ers.usda.gov/Features/farmbill/

Isidore's mosquitoes

More mosquitoes are expected as an aftereffect of the rains brought on by Tropical Storm Isidore, according to experts with the LSU AgCenter.

Dr. Michael Perich, a mosquito expert in the LSU AgCenter's Department of Entomology, said Louisianians can expect higher numbers of the floodwater species of mosquitoes emerging five to seven days after the storm.

"But we probably didn't have enough wind to blow woodland mosquitoes into urban areas," the medical entomologist said.

In addition, Perich said that while there may be larger numbers of mosquitoes hatching out in the days to come, the state's mosquito abatement districts are well aware of the problem. Representatives of those abatement districts already have begun spreading larvicides to kill the immature insects before they reach adulthood and begin flying, he said.

"They'll also be watching for adults and begin spraying adulticides when those come out too," he said.

Floodwater mosquitoes lay eggs at water edges, but the eggs don't hatch until the water rises. With deeper water, more eggs are exposed and begin to hatch.

Some floodwater mosquitoes can be associated with diseases, including the West Nile virus, Perich said, suggesting people remain aware of the problem and take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

LSU AgCenter experts offer the following tips for controlling mosquitoes and protecting yourself from mosquito bites:

-Avoid mosquito bites and protect yourself by wearing a mosquito repellent each time you go outside.

-Wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants, when possible, and avoid dark colors.

-Avoid outdoor activities from dusk to dawn - when mosquitoes are more active.

-Fight mosquitoes. Don't allow water to stand - or treat standing water with approved insecticides to kill mosquito larvae.

-Repair window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home.

-Use an insecticide to spray areas of thick vegetation in your landscape.

-Remove debris from your yard.

-Mow grass regularly and keep shrubbery trimmed.

-Use pesticides safely, effectively. Read and carefully follow label directions on any insecticides or mosquito repellents you use.

-Always choose a pesticide that is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for your intended use.

For more details on mosquito control and other issues, visit the LSU AgCenter's Web site at www.lsuagcenter.com.

Safety experts: 'Take care in handling grain'

According to the National Safety Council, farming is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. More than 700 farmers and ranchers die in work-related accidents, and another 120,000 agricultural workers suffer disabling injuries from work-related accidents each year.

“Harvest time is primary revenue time on many farms and is also one of the peak periods for farm injuries and deaths,” the safety group says. “Automated equipment has been handling of grain easy and fast. But, grain storage structures and handling equipment create hazardous work areas.”

The hazards of operating grain bins proved deadly for two Mississippi men this year.

In February, a Pontotoc, Miss., farmer went into one of his grain bins, apparently with the unloading system operating, and became entrapped. Despite the calls for help that he made on his cell phone to 911, he died of suffocation.

“He had gone into the top of the bin, possibly to level grain, when he was sucked down into the grain. The accident happened around 10 a.m., but it was nearly 4 p.m. before they were able to extract his body from the grain bin,” says farm safety expert Herb Willcutt.

In September of this year, a 75-year-old Bolivar County man was crushed while cleaning out a grain bin pit when another employee of the farm accidentally drove a backhoe into the pit. According to the local sheriff, the backhoe driver accidentally hit the accelerator instead of the brake, and the tractor jumped into the loading pit with the victim.

Willcutt, an agricultural engineer at Mississippi State University in Starkville, reminds growers there is one cardinal rule when using a backhoe, or similar type of equipment. Anytime a boom is being operated or moved, no one should be anywhere near that area where they could come in contact with the equipment.

Most grain bin accidents, according to Willcutt, involve someone becoming entrapped in flowing grain. “Anytime you enter a confined space with the potential of the bottom falling out from under you, so to speak, you need to have a rescue harness system to keep you from being sucked down into the grain. Anytime you enter a grain bin, you also need to have someone there that has the capability to provide rescue or assistance as needed,” he says.

The number one rule, Willcutt says, is never enter a grain bin with the unloaded system operating. In addition, he recommends never entering a bin that has had grain removed prior without probing to check for possible cavities in the bin, and never entering a bin without proper ventilation. “You should run the fan in the grain bin for several hours before attempting to go in it, because the dusts and gasses produced by out of condition grain have the potential to be deadly.”

To prevent injuries, illnesses and even death, the National Safety Council recommends growers follow these guidelines when operating grain bins:

  • Label grain bins to warn of entrapment hazards.
  • Lock entrances to grain handling areas to keep bystanders and children out.
  • Install ladders inside bins.third bullet: put text here
  • Do not enter grain bins that are being loaded or unloaded. Flowing grain can trap and suffocate you in seconds.
  • If it is necessary to enter a bin, shut off and lockout power before entering. Use a safety harness and safety line. Have several people available outside the bin to lift entrant out in case of emergency.
  • Wear dust-filtering respirators when working in and around grain handling areas. High amounts of dust and molds could be present and are extremely dangerous.
  • Wear approved hearing protection when working around noisy equipment, aeration fans and dryers.
  • Be very cautious of grain that may be out of condition. Crusted grain may have cavities beneath the surface that can collapse, leading to entrapment and suffocation.
  • Keep bystanders and children away from grain bins and grain handling equipment.

Although flowing grain is the primary cause of grain bin-related accidents, other dangers also exist, including high voltage electrical wires, ladders, and catwalks. In addition, auger entanglement accidents can occur if protective shields are left off and someone kicks at a clump of grain to get it flowing into the auger.

“Any water at all in a concrete grain pit with corn or soybeans, and it’s just like walking on marbles. Slips, trips, or falls around grain bins can be pretty serious because of the height of the bins, the fact that augers are in operation, and the fact that all of this equipment is on unforgiving concrete,” Willcutt says.

e-mail: dmuzzi@primediabusiness.com

Payment Cylce

Payment Wheat, Barley, Oats
Final direct October 2002-June 2003