Stokdijk Greenhouses Ltd., based out of Beaver Brook, is one of 12 pilot farms in the province working with the Canadian Agriculture Safety Association to put together a farm safety plan.
“We are third generation farmers and we are in the age where we no longer farm as our family did 55 years ago,” Stokdijk, who runs the greenhouse with her husband Timothy Willem, said following the launch of the Canadian Agricultural Safety Week yesterday in Bible Hill. She’s also on the executive of the province’s Federation of Agriculture. “We need to get our documents in line. We produce high-quality products, so we need to have that paperwork to back that up. It’s definitely a new process for us.”
The farm safety plan also incorporates the safety risks that come with an agricultural business, such as the Stokdijk’s greenhouse or even a dairy or beef farm, as well as strategies on how to mitigate those risks.
It’s something those in the agricultural business were learning about at the launch this week, with a theme of ‘Get with the plan,’ as well as a forum, held at Perennia Innovation Park.
“Farming is a business and we need to do all the business risk management paperwork, such as food safety and farm safety,” Stokdijk said. “We need to stop thinking about a farm as it was 50 years ago and start thinking about it as a business.”
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to creating the farm safety plan is time, said Geneve Newcombe, a farmer from Cornwallis who spoke at the launch and forum.
“The time and number of resources that are out there is limited,” she said. “But the message to take home is that by taking the time to create a farm safety plan, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by being aware of safety on your farms.”
Truro-Bible Hill MLA Lenore Zann proclaimed March 10 to 16 as Canadian Agricultural Safety Week in Nova Scotia on behalf of Premier Darrell Dexter.
“One serious injury or death on a farm is one too many,” she said. “By identifying the risks on your farms, you’re protecting yourselves, your families and your workers from harm.”
For more information on Canadian Agricultural Safety Week, visit www.agsafetyweek.ca.