This week's Idea is actually more of a reminder about an aspect of our business that we hope all of us are keeping as our #1 priority. A while back we heard Tim Vala pose a question in a presentation he gave, asking what aspect of our business is most important (safety, advertising, event value, employees, etc.)
His opinion of the correct answer to that question, of course, was safety. Without it, nothing else truly matters and can easily be lost. Further down in this Idea of the Week, we’ll link you to a couple of safety documents that Tim & Jan Vala use on their farm…demonstrating how they’ve taken their belief in safety and put it into action. If you haven’t prioritized safety procedures to the degree you believe you should have, we hope this week’s Idea (and the news stories below) will motivate you to move it to the top of your “to do” list! Increased safety helps both you and our whole industry.
In the News Recently
A Few Safety Suggestions for Tractor-Pulled Rides…
Though safety procedures need to be implemented in each and every aspect of our farms, we wanted to specifically mention a few tips for rides…
1. Keep your equipment well maintained and be sure that barrel trains have wide wheel bases to avoid roll-overs.
2. Be cautious about what you use to pull your barrel and/or grain trains (avoid ATVs, as they accelerate too quickly and take more control out of your hands as an owner and put it into your driver's hands - small tractors are generally slower and safer).
3. Watch the speed of your rides and be sure that your tractors have working brakes…especially if there are hills on your route.
4. Make sure your barrel trains have seatbelts in each car and that passengers always stay inside the cars and belted.
5. Be sure that your departure area and route for hayrides, grain trains, barrel trains, is in an area where there is no walking traffic.
6. Ensure that your drivers are well trained and well suited for driving cautiously.
7. Get down on your hands & knees and look at everything from a “kids eye view” to further detect any potential safety hazzards.
Message from Cajun Country Corn
We reached out to Donald & Vicki Courville, long-time makers of cow and grain trains, to get any words of advice they might have and pick up a few tips they recommend. With a reputation for offering products that are built with safety in mind, Donald and Vicki have had their frames reviewed by two engineering firms, build all of their cow cars with seats and seat belts, distribute an instruction manual for assembly, and an employee training guide for operating the cow train. The employee training guide even has a test for the employee to take. This year they are including a daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance check for the cow train in each manual and will have that available for all of those who presently have their cow trains.
"Our best advice to all of you is to put drivers on your hayride, cow train, grain train, etc. who are conscience of their surroundings, speed, and especially conscience of those riding. You will be carrying some very special cargo and keep in mind while in your charge, you are responsible for their well being and safety. We feel like most of the accidents that happen on these attractions are due mainly to operator error." - Donald & Vicki Courville
Samples & Resources
Sample of Safety Manual from Vala's Pumpkin Patch
Sample of Employee Signature Document from Vala's Pumpkin Patch
Agritourism Health and Safety Guidelines for Children