State lawmakers aim to improve farm safety education, make safety measures more affordable

State lawmakers aim to improve farm safety education, make safety measures more affordable

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KEYC) — A new legislative year in Minnesota began Tuesday at the capitol and elected officials have plans to get grain out of bins and to make efforts toward improving safety on the farm.

Efforts to improve safety on the farm started during the first legislative session with Sens. Nick Frentz and Rich Draheim introducing a bill that would appropriate money for an added safety measure in an existing grant program.

Under the provision, the program would cover 75% of the documented cost of adding safety features for grain bins, including fall protection, prevention of contact with moving parts and dust collection systems.

Also in the works is farm safety education improvement.

“There’s a lot of incidents that happen around the farm that I think we all know better, but we just need reminders... so we have a bill coming that would help promote that through 4-H and FFA,” said Sen. Rich Draheim of District 20.

Draheim would also like to take a look at other states’ efforts in farm safety education to improve Minnesota’s education efforts.

“I don’t think we need to reinvent the wheel, I think we need to go out and look at what other states are doing and copy them, emulate them and take their good programs they have and try to make them fit in Minnesota,” said Draheim.

Another bill in the works would offer grant money to colleges and universities to work on continued safety ideas and technology around the farm, while yet another would promote and utilize new industries, including soy-based road sealant.

“I’ve talked to the commissioner of transportation and they want to study it more and I think the time is right, it’s been around for 20 years,” said Draheim.

“You’ll see a bill come out on that and then bio-tires is another area that doesn’t get talked about enough. What can we do as a state, keeping cost in mind, to promote these new industries,” said Draheim.

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