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Resources available to keep youth safe on farms

Resources available to keep youth safe on farms

WASHINGTON—From developing a good work ethic to learning responsibility, farm work instills valuable skills in youth that they can use throughout their lives. But farm work can be hazardous.

As the school year winds down, more youth may be working on farms—and keeping them safe is important. Children and adolescents are at increased risk for injury if assigned tasks don’t match their developmental level and abilities.

To help educate parents and employers about specific farm safety practices associated with youth, the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety has created three resource booklets on gardening, operating farm equipment and working with animals.

“If we can get farm parents and supervisors to use the guidelines to assign work, it will ultimately result in less injuries and fatalities for our working youth,” said Dr. Marsha Salzwedel, a project scientist with the center.

Developed from the center’s Agricultural Youth Work Guidelines, the booklets outline 50 common tasks youth may perform on the farm, such as operating a tractor, milking cows and hand harvesting. They identify hazards and include information on proper adult supervision, training, child labor regulations and assessing a young person’s ability to perform a specific job safely.

To learn more and download the booklets, visit

Farm safety also is an important topic for Virginia Farm Bureau, and the organization has a comprehensive farm safety resources website with information for farm families at