Monthly Archives: July 2014

You gotta make hay while the sun shines!

Summer is truly my favorite time of the entire year.  The cows are contentedly grazing in the mountain pastures, calves are growing, the corn is stretching higher and higher towards the sun, and life is taking a somewhat slower pace than it does in the winter months.

Scenic hay field. Photo by Susan Wilkins.

Scenic hay field. Photo by Susan Wilkins.

But even while baling hay on a gorgeous sunny day, farmers are inevitably thinking about and planning for the winter season.  As we make hay, I know my dad and brother are mentally calculating how many bales it will take to winter our cows and how many more they will need to make before summer’s end.

For now though, we’ll enjoy the sunshine and warmth and pray for the rain that ensures our crops will continue to grow.

From my farm to yours – happy Summertime!

Water, Rest, Shade

Water, rest, shade. Three simple, yet important, words that headline the Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s heat stress awareness campaign.

Hot weather means the human body must work harder to keep cool, especially in high humidity. Outdoor workers are the most susceptible to heat illness, which can “range from heat rash and heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke,” according to OSHA. In the most extreme cases, heat stroke can lead to death.

It is important for outdoor workers to build up a tolerance for working in these conditions. Those who are new to outdoor summer labor or those who are return from a vacation that has kept them out of the heat should gradually increase their workload until they are acclimated to the temperature and humidity.

Summer sun and humidity increase the risk of heat illness for outdoor workers. OSHA recommends drinking water every 15 minutes, even if you aren’t thirsty. Photo credit: Liz Foster, Arizona Farm Bureau

Summer sun and humidity increase the risk of heat illness for outdoor workers. OSHA recommends drinking water every 15 minutes, even if you aren’t thirsty. Photo credit: Liz Foster, Arizona Farm Bureau

There are many ways for farmers and ranchers to beat the heat this summer. OSHA suggests the following:

  • Drink water every 15 minutes, even if you are not thirsty.
  • Rest in the shade to cool down.
  • Wear a hat and light-colored clothing.
  • Learn the signs of heat illness and what to do in an emergency.
  • Keep an eye on fellow workers.
  • “Easy does it” on your first days of work in the heat. You need to get used to it.

Employers of outdoor workers are also encouraged to establish a heat illness prevention program, which includes adding rest breaks into the work day and training workers to look for signs of heat illness.

Special thanks for the Arizona Farm Bureau for recommending this important health and safety tip. For more information on OSHA’s recommendation for heat exposure, visit

Why We’re Saying ‘That’s Enough’ – #DitchTheRule

By Kacey Clay

Have you ever been asked to do something and before you could think about it you said yes? My husband and I were in that position recently.

A couple of months ago Missouri Farm Bureau contacted us with a “crazy idea” –
creating a parody of the song “Let It Go” from the movie “Frozen.”

You could imagine the look on my face. I thought what for? Why? These and other questions were going through my mind.

Then the explanation came. The parody video was part of a broader a strategy to help raise awareness on an issue that just wasn’t being heard – the proposed “Waters of the U.S.” rule pushed by the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers.

Being on the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee we knew that more needed to be done to sound the alarm about the proposed rule, and how it would greatly expand strict control over private land that had never been regulated by the federal government.

Just like that, the video was a go. We jumped on board and I headed to the recording studio. It only took two hours to record the parody lyrics.

A few weeks later the camera guy came out to the farm. The kids put on their swimwear, I put on a dress and out to the field we went. With a little bit of patience and drawing on my old drama club skills, four hours later we had footage that we hoped would make a strong statement.

Bringing attention to this issue was definitely something we wanted to do and we’re seeing a difference. With close to 100,000 hits on YouTube, and a “Fox and Friends” interview, we are helping spread the word as quickly as we can.

The proposed waters rule will impact so many if implemented. Not only will farmers be affected, but home builders and many others too. There will need to be permits issued for certain everyday farm tasks. Many of you have an idea about how long it would take to get a permit from the government. Let’s just say our kids may never see it in the mail.

If the rules are not abided by anyone could be slapped with a $37,000 a-day-fine, definitely not feasible in any profession. Especially not farming.

So help us say “DITCH THE RULE!” Voice your opinion at, share the link to “That’s Enough” and use #DitchTheRule on social media.

We have until Oct. 20 to let EPA and the Corps know what we think. The more voices they hear the better chance we have of ditching the rule.

Kacey Clay and her husband, Andy, farm in Missouri. They are members of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee. This blog post was originally published as part of AFBF’s Focus on Agriculture series.