MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Two legislative committees heard an anguished appeal for help Thursday at the Minnesota State Capitol.
It came from Michele Gran, who lost her son — 18-year-old Landon Gran — in an accident last August. His legs got trapped in a sweep auger inside a neighbor’s grain bin. The teen was ready to begin his senior year at St. Peter High School.
Farming has long been one of the most dangerous professions in the United States. Federal statistics say farmers are 800% more likely to dies on the job than other workers.
But Gran’s death has a grieving community saying enough.
“This has been since August that I’ve been fighting for this, so to get to this point, it’s really surreal,” Michele said.
Through her tears, and sitting beside her surviving son James, Michele testified for “Landon’s Law,” which would provide $500,000 in grants for farmers for grain bin safety equipment.
“I don’t want his death to be in vain. We have to make changes to farming safety measures, that are so important,” Michele said.
“Growing up, you talk to farmers … everybody knows somebody,” James Gran said. “And it’s almost come as a fact of life, and I don’t think that it needs to be.”
After Landon’s death, neighbors and friends created a tractor procession as a tribute. Many of Landon’s classmates from St. Peter sat somberly through the House hearing to show their support.
“I think it’s important that it doesn’t happen again. There is nothing we can do to change the past anymore, but hopefully we can do something for the future,” classmate Bennett DeBlieck said.
Michele and James Gran also testified before a Senate hearing at the Capitol. There are also bills in the Senate that would provide funding for education and equipment grants to help improve grain bin safety.
There have been at least eight grain bin-related deaths in Minnesota since last June.