Eyeing safety with dairy farming

Dairy farmers across New York are gearing up for what will be a brand new experience. The federal government is scheduled to start a different set of safety inspections on some dairy farms this summer.

Farmers take this issue very seriously, wanting the safest possible workplace for their families, their employees, and themselves.

Because of this, New York Farm Bureau and a number of its agricultural partners have been working hard to educate farmers on how to prepare for these inspections. However, there is a hurdle standing in the way. The farms are still waiting for clarification from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on a number of issues they will be evaluating.

Exact standards are not available for dairies like they are for constructions sites and manufacturers. So what should farmers go by in determining best safety practices on the farm? It is important that they have clear directions on how to prepare before the site visits begin. Representative Tom Reed has been part of a bipartisan effort asking OSHA for a delay in its timetable. This is not meant to stop the inspections, but rather to ensure everyone is on the same page.

New York Farm Bureau appreciates Rep. Reed’s common sense approach to finding a reasonable solution to this issue to effectively protect everyone on the farm. The information just needs to be clear from the get go about how the federal inspection process will work.

Dean Norton is president of the New York Farm Bureau and is an Elba resident.