ICYMI: The Delmarva Farmer, “MFB: Cultivating safety, wellness”
Originally Published: 9/26/2023
DAVIDSONVILLE, MD – Recently, Maryland Farm Bureau Board Member and Co-Owner of Monnett Farms, Jamie Tiralla, published the following commentary in The Delmarva Farmer on farmer’s health and safety:
Maryland farmers truly represent the best of our state. As the state’s largest commercial industry, our thriving agricultural sector contributes significantly to our local economy and our communities. That’s why it’s vital that Maryland farmers have the necessary resources and information to perform their jobs both effectively and safely.
This rewarding profession is not without its dangers. According to 2019 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the agricultural sector had 573 fatalities, equivalent to 23.1 deaths per 100,000 workers, making farming the most dangerous profession in America.
Furthermore, the often stressful environments of the agriculture sector can lead to health problems not readily visible. Anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders can take their toll on farmers, leading to a suicide rate over three times higher than the general population, as reported by the National Rural Health Association.
Recently, the White House proclaimed September 17 through September 23, 2023, as National Farm Safety and Health Week. It serves as a reminder to all of us about the critical need to take care of ourselves and prioritize safety in our work.
As an organization, the Maryland Farm Bureau (MDFB) is committed to promoting the health, safety, and welfare of farmers. As outlined in our 2023 Policy Book, we support mental health programs and services for the agricultural community, providing farmers with lifesaving resources they might not otherwise be aware of. We also champion farm safety programs such as rural road safety and the slow-moving vehicle initiative, which MDFB proudly advocated for in the Maryland Department of Transportation’s 2021 – 2025 Strategic Highway Safety Plan.
MDFB is a proud Nationwide partner, offering substantial policy discounts to our members. Additionally, we have partnered with MyHealthily to offer a member benefit that provides access to healthcare coverage options for our members, their employees, and their families. These critical insurance plans can serve as a vital lifeline to Maryland’s farmers when they need it most.
While we play just a small part in raising awareness for the health and safety of Maryland farmers, we also need your help. Engage in conversations with your friends and neighbors; openly discuss the challenges our profession can face, and encourage them to seek help when needed.
Maryland farmers are the backbone of our economy and pillars of our local community. Their tireless efforts help feed and fuel our state, and they are irreplaceable. By working together, we can ensure they have all the resources available to perform their jobs safely and maintain their well-being.