COLUMBUS, Neb. -- Safety is of the utmost importance in the agricultural world and Columbus Community Hospital aimed to assist farmers at their first safety conference on Tuesday.

Everything from grain bin safety to blood pressure screenings were offered to farmers in the Columbus area.

Ag Safety Committee Member Wade Hilker said the event offers an opportunity to remind farmers to take care of their health.

“To try to incorporate ag safety concepts in a thought process so that workers are always in the mindset of being safe, having a priority of that, keep everybody, and let everybody go to work and go home," Hilker said.

Hilker said a lot of times, farmers ‘push through the pain’ instead of taking time to focus on their health.

“Instead of us being, first thought, we got to take care of ourselves, a lot of times they’re like, ‘We got to get the job done.’ Work through the pain, bust through it, and get it done," Hilker said. "A lot of times, we need to refocus.”

With some farmers aging, safety is a priority but nurturing the new generation of farmers in topics about safety, finances, and unknowns is just as important.

“For our younger members, as they return home, have the uncomfortable conversations of how do I take over [and] how do I take those next steps,” Hilker said.

“Our farmers are aging. What are the next steps for those next generations to take on that…that responsibility because that is a huge undertaking,” said Danielle Frewing, Director of Occupational Health Services at Columbus Community Hospital. “You’re never too young to learn about finances.”

Many vendors were at the event talking through steps with farmers about keeping themselves safe on farmland.

One of those was dermatologist Dillon Clarey who said an annual skin check is reasonable and taking the proper steps to protect from the sun is important. 

“It’s making sure that we’re protecting ourself from the sun. Wearing sun-screen, wearing wide brim hats, wearing long-sleeve clothing. The more we can do to prevent sun-exposure is good.”

Clarey said it’s important to know where those services are offered especially for those exposed to the sun for long periods of time.

With farmers being an important part of the state’s industry, Frewing said the event serves as a reminder for workers across Nebraska.

“Safety is very, very important from a day-to-day aspect whether you’re working on a farm or just self-care,” Frewing said.