Not a month ago, a furry little friend in Pennsylvania proclaimed six more weeks of winter. Right. This winter has been a weird one, for sure. Who could blame him for getting it wrong? Of course, he is some 800 miles away from us here in Missouri.

Here in Missouri, warm winds are blowing from the south; I have gone without even a light jacket more days than should be allowed; and the daffodils are coming up in my yard. Those bright orange slow-moving-vehicle triangles are also starting to appear on Missouri back roads and highways.

In the cold month of February, farmers are usually finalizing seed and fertilizer purchases and tuning up planting and spraying equipment. I have seen quite a few already out working in the fields.

That said, this season, perhaps planting has a chance of coming early. It’s always a good time to remind drivers and cyclists to keep an eye out for machinery on the road and to remind farmers to take care on the farm.

March 5-11, 2017 is Ag Safety Awareness Program (ASAP) Week nationwide. The theme for the 2017 ASAP Week is “Get Out of My Space.” Farmers are urged to focus on farm safety in a variety of areas on the farm to prevent accidents, injuries and lost time.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry is one of the most hazardous industrial sectors with a fatal occupational injury rate of 25.6 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers compared to 3.4 deaths per 100,000 for all industries. Agriculture, forestry and fishing industries employed 2,244,000 workers under the Census Bureau’s North American Industry Classification System.

We can affect those statistics through education and practice. Throughout ASAP Week, Missouri Farm Bureau will be reminding drivers and farmers to have patience and play it safe as we head into spring planting. Safety is in the air, silly groundhog.