Na­tional Farm week ap­plies to you too

The Covington News - - LOCAL - Hosanna Fletcher has lived in New­ton County since 2005. With a Masters in Pub­lic Health and another in So­ci­ol­ogy, she has worked on a va­ri­ety of com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment projects and has led train­ing ses­sions for Lay Health Ad­vi­sors, con­ducted and eval­u­ated

The weather is chang­ing… fi­nally.

The hot, dry sum­mer is com­ing to a close and fall is be­gin­ning to creep in. My re­cently crispy grass is en­joy­ing the slightly cooler air and fre­quent drinks of rain­wa­ter. It seems like it is grow­ing as fast as a prover­bial weed. How­ever, its days are num­bered — each time it is mowed could be the last this year. There are few things in this world that I en­joy more than get­ting on the rid­ing lawn mower and cut­ting the grass. There is some­thing ther­a­peu­tic about it — the soli­tude, the (rel­a­tive) quiet. It gives one time to think. And that is some­thing we don’t give our­selves much of in to­day’s hus­tle-and-bus­tle world.

So many of us use our yards and gar­dens as a form of refuge.

In 1944, Pres­i­dent Franklin D. Roo­sevelt signed the first Na­tional Farm Safety Week procla­ma­tion and Na­tional Farm Safety and Health Week has been rec­og­nized by Pres­i­den­tial Procla­ma­tion from ev­ery Pres­i­dent since. This year’s Na­tional Farm Safety and Health Week is this week, run­ning Mon­day through Satur­day. You prob­a­bly didn’t know that un­less you hap­pen to live on one of the 285 farms we have in New­ton County and/or par­tic­i­pate in the safety train­ings of­fered by the New­ton County Farm Bureau (gfb.org or 770786-7201). So you might be ask­ing, what does this have to do with you?

Take out “farm” from the ti­tle and the safety in­for­ma­tion avail­able ap­plies to most of us, just on a smaller scale. In a so­ci­ety where we have in­stant ac­cess to so much in­for­ma­tion, we are of­ten quick to dis­count things that we think don’t ap­ply to us.

In 1944, we were still largely an agri­cul­tural na­tion so our his­tory is rooted in farm­ing ( pun in­tended). Per­haps that is why some of us find en­joy­ment in our yards and gar­dens. Are you a rose grower? Per­haps toma­toes and pep­pers are more your speed? Or maybe you fo­cus your green thumb on that grass!

Re­sources from the UGA Co­op­er­a­tive Ex­ten­sion Of­fice are avail­able to ev­ery­one (ex­ten­sion. uga. edu/ pub­li­ca­tions/). It’s true that you might not need to know best prac­tices for han­dling cat­tle. How­ever, the tips for pre­vent­ing in­jury by wear­ing proper cloth­ing and safety gear ap­ply to any­one who has ever mowed the lawn, op­er­ated a leaf blower, or fired up the chain­saw.

If you grow any­thing, you likely ap­ply some sort of fer­til­izer, in­sec­ti­cide, fungi­cide or her­bi­cide. Just the “cide” part of those names should en­cour­age you to al­ways follow the di­rec­tions found on the prod­uct la­bel. Please con­sider your ap­pli­ca­tion method and amount when you use. In this case, more does not al­ways equal bet­ter. Another good rule of thumb is to mix and store th­ese chem­i­cals away from your well or storm drain to pre­vent con­tam­i­na­tion from ac­ci­den­tal leak­age.

If you have (or have had in the past 10 years) chil­dren that have at­tended school in New­ton County, then you have prob­a­bly heard the KCNB Pup­pet Show songs about storm wa­ter runoff — sing along with me, “Noth­ing but rain down the storm drain.” The chem­i­cals we use in our gar­dens and on our lawns are some of the big­gest con­trib­u­tors to stormwa­ter pol­lu­tion. Check out KCNB.biz for more in­for­ma­tion.

So even if you are not one of our many farm­ing op­er­a­tions in New­ton County, you can cel­e­brate Na­tional Farm Safety and Health Week… in your own back/front yard.

HOSANNA FLETCHER

COLUM­NIST

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