In honor of National Farm Health and Safety Week, Farm Credit Services of Illinois is hosting their annual "Meals in the Field" events all over the state. Employees from the Harrisburg office, which covers the 10 southernmost counties in Illinois, held the event at Galatia farmer Randy Anderson's farm Monday.
"The emphasis is to remind people like Randy and his hired hands to think about farm safety," said Todd Hortin, branch manager and vice president of financial services at the Harrisburg Farm Credit office.
According to a release by Farm Credit Services of Illinois, as a part of Farm Safety Week, more than 100 Illinois farm families will be served complimentary "Meals in the Field" by Farm Credit Services of Illinois. More than hot lunches will be delivered to farmers during their busy harvest season – Farm Credit will also deliver a farm safety message to the host family with special emphasis on safety reminders for farm children.
Farm Credit established the "Meals in the Field" program in 2000 to promote farm safety during the harvest season. All Farm Credit regional offices select at least one farm family to receive lunch on each weekday of Farm Safety Week. The Farm Credit staff serves the food wherever the farmers are working, according to the release.
Anderson was chosen randomly to be one of the recipients of the free meal, which was catered by BBQ Barn. Farm Credit staff from Harrisburg will host the meals at different farms each day this week. They are encouraged to invite family and friends to the event, as well.
"Farm Credit salutes the hard-working farm families in Illinois. We want our meals to give farmers a compelling reason to climb off the combine or out of their grain truck to take a quick and refreshing break during the harvest work days," says Dave Owens, President and C.E.O. of Farm Credit Services of Illinois, in a prepared release. "It pays in the long run to slow down enough to take breaks and drink plenty of water to help stay alert while operating farm machinery."
This year's harvest will not be as bountiful due to the summer's historic drought and record-breaking heat. Anderson, for example, revealed he only harvested an average of 10 bushels an acre of corn this year.
"Farm Credit is mindful of both the economic and emotional struggle farm families face with the harvest at hand," says Owens. "But even if the yields are disappointing, safety must still be a top priority for the entire family during harvest."
According to the release, to help ease the economic impact of the drought, Farm Credit recently announced relief assistance initiatives for stockholders including provisions for an interest-free operating loan for up to $100,000 during the traditional harvest months of September, October and November. Additionally, Farm Credit is offering to restructure existing loans to defer current loan payments for farmers facing unexpected cash flow shortages because of the drought.