The South Dakota Farm Bureau (SDFB) has published a Farm & Ranch Safety Checklist and is encouraging farmers and ranchers to take time to go through it before the full busyness of spring is here.

“Spring is an extremely exciting and busy time, but we shouldn’t underestimate the importance of slowing down to consider farm and ranch safety before we get in the field to plant or in the pasture for calving,” said Scott VanderWal, SDFB President and crop and livestock farmer from Volga, S.D. “I’d encourage my fellow farmers and livestock producers to take some time now to go through this Farm and Ranch Safety Checklist. Don’t put it off. A small amount of time spent going through this checklist is an important investment in the safety of you and your family.”

The checklist includes the following topic areas: machinery, chemicals and hazardous materials, the farm and ranch shop, and the farmstead. The 38 questions in the checklist give you a guide for a point-by-point walkthrough of your farm or ranch that can easily be completed in an afternoon’s time or less. Checklist questions include these, and more:

Are all proper guards and shields in place? Is a working fire extinguisher in place on each piece of equipment? Are all agricultural chemicals kept in original, labeled containers in a securely locked location? Are safety glasses available for use with power tools? Are children’s play areas fenced in and away from traffic, machinery, and livestock?

March, which is recognized as Farm & Ranch Safety Month, is a perfect time to complete this checklist.

Farm Bureau also encourages farmers and ranchers to talk to their family members about these safety points. Children and spouses should know where to find keys, shutoffs, fire extinguishers and first-aid supplies in case of emergency.

Download Farm Bureau's new "Farm & Ranch Safety Checklist" here