Most of you reading this are likely involved in agriculture in some capacity. Do you think being a farmer or rancher is a high risk occupation?

The reality is that farming and ranching is a high risk occupation. A 2017 report from the U. S. Department of Labor contains some staggering statistics and emphasizes the need for safety. There were 5147 fatal work-related injuries in 2017. Farmers, ranchers, and agriculture managers were the second greatest civilian occupation with regard to fatal work-related injuries, with 258 reported fatalities in 2017. A tractor was involved in 103 of these incidents.

Sales and truck drivers had the greatest number of fatal work injuries — 987.

The leading cause of injuries was transportation incidents — 2,077.

These statistics are sobering. Agriculture is a dangerous occupation, and many times our daily activities put us on the road hauling commodities, equipment and livestock.

Summer is “go time” for those of us involved in agriculture. However, the need for safety is real. Don’t be complacent about your safety and the safety of those around you.

The full report from the U.S. Department of Labor may be accessed at:

Justin Waggoner is a beef systems specialist at Kansas State University. For more information, contact him at