Farming is dangerous, but growing safer through technology

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WILSON, Kan. (KSNW) — The farming industry remains one of the most dangerous professions in the country. More than 700 farmers are killed, and 120,000 are hurt each year. Kansas has already had four deadly accidents this year. 

Curtis Dolezal, 29-years-old, says he wakes up every morning with his goals being “to feed the world“ and doing the best he can for other people.

Dolezal notes “some days are harder than others. It can get frustrating. So, I mean, it takes me a little longer to figure out stuff.”  

The young farmer had his right arm amputated when he was three after it got stuck in his family’s grain auger. “I just got it stuck in there. Curiosity got to me and stuck it in there, and that was that,” he said. 

Sharon Hiss with the Kansas Farm Bureau said farming remains one of the most dangerous professions in the country and in the sunflower state. 

“Tractors and heavy equipment contribute to about 69 percent of accidents out there,” she said. 

But due to improved safety warnings and increased farm education, the number of farm accident facilities are declining in Kansas. 

  • 2015 = 10 fatal accidents
  • 2016 = 8 fatal accidents 
  • 2017 = 10 fatal accidents 
  • 2018 = 5 fatal accidents. 

“Machines today have a lot more guards than in the past,” Hiss said. “They’re pretty much safety proof where you can’t put your hand in anything.”

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She said it’s important to use the buddy system and be aware of your surroundings at all times.“Number one goal is to prevent any accident,” Hiss urged. 

Dolezal said he regrets putting his hand in the auger, but he said his traumatic accident makes him a stronger person. “Just don’t give up on yourself,” he said. “You can muscle through it and get through about anything else anybody else can.”

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