By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gov. Tim Walz says too many families in Minnesota have lost loved ones to preventable farming accidents. He’s now calling for new state funding to improve farm safety.

On Tuesday, Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan announced the proposal of $250,000 to enhance farm safety measures across the state.

“Too many Minnesota families have lost loved ones to preventable farming accidents,” Walz said. “That’s why I’m proposing new funding for safety measures like tractor rollover protection and grain bin safety equipment. We need to make sure all Minnesota farmers have access to these resources so they can work safely and prevent future tragedies.”

Walz says the proposal includes three complementary approaches to address farm safety. The funds will specifically do the following:

– Relaunch the Tractor Rollover Protection Grant Program, originally created by Minnesota Statute 17.119. Once reinstated, the program reimburses farmers who retrofit eligible tractors with rollover protective structures.

– Create a cost-share or reimbursement program for farmers who wish to invest in grain bin safety equipment.

– Conduct a farm safety outreach campaign highlighting tractor safety and grain bin safety and promoting the availability of this funding.

“We need to do everything we can to ensure Minnesota farmers can work without fear of getting hurt or losing a loved one,” Lt. Governor Flanagan said. “That’s why we put forward a proposal to protect farmers from the real dangers they face every day.”

Related: ‘Landon’s Law’ Highlights Need For Grain Bin Safety

State officials say that while only about 2% of Minnesota’s workforce is engaged in agriculture, it accounted for more than 30% of workplace fatalities in 2014. At least 10 people have died in farming accidents since June 2019.

Esme Murphy