SPOTLIGHT: Was that a part of the plan?

SPOTLIGHT: Was that a part of the plan?


As we wrap up harvest, plans are being made for 2021. While we do not hope for any disasters, now is the time to plan for one.

Shay Foulk is an agronomist, agricultural business and safety consultant, and seed producer in Sparland, IL. He has worked with farmers and agri-businesses to develop and implement safety emergency response plans, conduct in-person safety meetings, and provide critical feedback through site evaluations and action plans. Shay Foulk shared insight with UMASH about how to get started, inspired by his time and experience in the military and as a farmer and agribusiness owner himself.

As harvest winds down, the real work begins. As you take time to work on your business.. be sure to cut out some time for safety planning. You know there are changes that need to be made and things that need to be addressed. Don’t wait!

Shay Foulk

Taking time during planning season to plan for an emergency or disaster is proactive and may pay in the long run.

Shay emphasized this point, “It is easy to be reactive after an accident or farm safety incident occurs. Anyone who has been involved in an accident or lost someone due to an accident will tell you, don’t wait until something happens to address a problem or prepare your farm to prevent an accident!”

How can you get started?

When most folks think of ’emergency preparedness’ they think tornado, flood, hail, fire. These are all crucial aspects of emergency preparedness planning, but they do not paint the whole picture. Some things that they do have in common, though, are: location, communication, safety, and planning.

Some easy ways to get started with emergency preparedness on your farm:

  • Document all field locations with GPS coordinates and all physical locations with emergency addresses.
  • Use an emergency response sheet or other standard form to clearly communicate information to first responders.
  • Create a simple blueprint of all locations that identifies hazards on the farm or business that can clearly be communicated. (electrical, chemical, fall, trip, or storage hazards)
  • Meet twice a year with your team to discuss hazards, how to communicate them, and remind them of safety rules and procedures of the farm/business

Keep in mind these are simple ways to get started, with a lot more planning and work behind it for a quality, comprehensive plan you can build on year after year to ensure your farm team’s safety.

Agriculture can be busy, risky, and economically uncertain. This is all the more reason to invest in planning and preparedness, as emphasized by Shay:

“One of the hardest parts of safety adoption in agriculture is it is hard to justify the time or money spent on implementing safety standards for your farm or business because, if it is done well, you may never know the accidents it prevented! It is our responsibility to put the safety CULTURE back in agriCULTURE, and we can all accomplish this through prevention, being proactive, and implementing our plans.”

Get started with free resources:

Interested in Connecting with Shay Foulk?

Website: Ag View Solutions

Email Shay at agronguy@gmail.com for examples of emergency response sheets, simple blueprints, and field location tracking and information sharing. He is available for speaking events, emergency response meetings, and site walk-thrus and evaluations, or for insight on implementing these practices for your group or team!