Kansas Corn Provides Fall Harvest Preparedness Checklists

Kansas Corn has developed checklists for farm safety and to help farmers establish their own management plan. All farmers are encouraged to take a few minutes to write their own plans and put them where they can be easily found. Copies can also be shared with trusted neighbors or friends.

Protect Yourself During Harvest

  • Always Take A Second for Safety, an extra second could save your life
  • Wear proper PPE (personal protective equipment)
  • Drink plenty of water and get enough rest
  • Make it a point to check in with family and loved ones regularly, even when things get hectic
  • Practice gratitude
  • Take time for yourself, even if it is just a quick walk around the farm
  • Monitor yourself for signs of stress, if you notice something, say something
  • Follow all safety guidelines for equipment

On-Farm Procedures and Planning

According to a recent survey of farmers, 70 percent have no formal back-up plan should a key member of the family farming operation become ill. It doesn’t mean farmers aren’t thinking about the issue, but in most cases, it has not resulted in a plan of action. While the COVID-19 pandemic has brought attention to the need for planning, a good on-farm procedures and planning document can help your business to continue to operate in the case of any illness or injury. Granted, most corn farms continue to be family-run operations with minimal employees and or seasonal help, so much of the advice currently being shared with businesses may not apply. However, there are some basic things you can do and should consider.

  • Schedule a brainstorming meeting with all family and employees involved in the operation to discuss possible scenarios, solutions to potential disruptions during planting and subsequent fieldwork.
  • Develop a written contingency plan and make sure everyone has a copy. Are there neighboring farmers who might be able to share resources and or labor in an emergency? Who will manage for a few weeks if you or another key person is unable to leave your house or are hospitalized?
  • Make a list of immediate changes that can be implemented that can lower risk on your farm.
  • Prepare an on-farm workforce, including your family members.
  • Consider cross-training of family members and employees regarding key functions and appropriate safe operation of equipment.
  • It is recommended that all farms have Continuity of Business (COB) plans, to keep operations running smoothly in case of any disruption. Many state departments of agriculture are recommending farms review and update or write a continuity of business plan in case of disruption due to illness. COB plans are critical for all operations; however, small farms may be at greater risk if a disruption occurs because the owner may be the sole caretaker.
  • It is important to have written documentation of your business operations in case of illness, so that another family member or neighbor can assist if you need to be isolated or treated due to COVID-19 or other illness or injury. Regardless of operation size, production practices, or type of operations, you are strongly encouraged to develop COB plans in case of illness or injury and communicate the plan to family or another person who can step in.

Helpful Checklists

General Farm Information

  • Hired help contact info and primary job responsibilities
  • Typical machinery dealership and/or repair services used
  • Crop advisor and/or farm manager names and phone numbers
  • Crop insurance agent name and phone number
  • Ag lender name and phone number

Field Plans

  • Field names and locations
  • Highlight in a plat book, if possible
  • Note where the field entrance is and which side is best to start work
  • Intended crop
  • Seed varieties, where is the seed located, who is your seed dealer
  • Planting rates
  • What still needs to be done? Tillage, spring fertilizer, burndown
  • Who is your retailer for chemical and fertilizer?
  • Have spring chemical and nitrogen programs been finalized?

Stored Crop Plans

  • Which bins may need to be watched more closely than others?
  • Do you have any upcoming delivery contacts? With whom?
  • Does anyone help market your crops?

Livestock Plans

  • Do you still have cows to calve? If so, list calving routine and processing procedures
  • Which pastures do you have cows at, where do cows need to go when the grass greens up?
  • Are there water needs?
  • Hay storage? Mineral and protein tubs?
  • Do you have feed brought in? Who is your supplier, are the deliveries automatic?
  • What are your rations?
  • Hog barn routine? Clean out procedures?
  • Who is your contact for who you grow for?
  • Where do you get your feed? Is it automatic?
  • Is there anyone you have come help for things like load out?
  • Veterinarian name and contact information.