Some farms have a “safety-third policy” when it comes to operating farm equipment. This lackadaisical attitude starts when the 10-year-old is driving the farm four-wheeler at break-neck speeds through muddy fields and skidding around the corner. There is a quick laugh about the safety sticker on the four-wheeler saying, “All operators must be over the age of 16 to ride,” and we carry on our day.

Dwayne Faber is a writer, speaker and dairy farmer. He and his family operate farms in Oregon. To...

The Faber family has a history of this carefree attitude as well.

Your beloved author was a wee child of about 6 years old and helping Dad scrape cow poop through the barns. Now, Dad had an inflated sense of the IQ of the next generation, which subsequent years taught him to dial back. You see, there was a gate that needed to be closed after scraping, and his young progeny was not old enough to be the official gate closer. So, he placed his young child on the tractor seat, with firm instructions not to move, while he jumped off to go and close the gate. Our young protagonist, however, had different plans.

You see, there is something innate in all young boys – a need to pretend to drive a tractor. As we speak, there is probably some antiagriculture couple in a high-rise in downtown Seattle who have a 6-year-old boy who is pretending to drive tractors on the carpet in his room as he harvests GMO crops that are destroying the environment.

So, our young Mr. Faber pretended to drive the tractor by himself; presumably to harvest the last of the corn crop at 45 miles per hour before the incoming hailstorm wiped out the entire crop and left him and his family destitute for generations. In this rush to complete the fastest harvesting of corn silage in the Western Hemisphere, he took a corner much too sharp and went sailing past the steering wheel and lost his implantation on the terra firma that was the tractor seat.


In what would later be described as both majestic and horrific, the young child launched and fell face-first into what could best be described as 24-hour-old cow feed and, at worst, fresh cow poop.

There I lay, bleeding from a head wound, and absolutely covered in cow poop.

Dad and Mom frantically worked to strip me of most of my clothing and rushed me to the hospital for several stitches. Our hospital was not particularly rural, and the staff of the said hospital would rarely describe the stench that your young author had as the “smell of money.”

After the stitches were stitched and the smell had subsided, safety on the Faber Farm took on a whole new meaning.

While we can look back on our scares on the farm somewhat humorously, there are thousands of farm families who have lost loved ones on the farm. It doesn’t take but a moment for a young child to run away on the farm or for an equipment accident to occur. Continue to make safety a top priority on your farm for both your families and your employees.