WEST SALEM (WEAU)- Lately the dry conditions have not only been damaging crops but putting the farmers themselves in danger as well.
Wednesday afternoon a farmer from West Salem was combining oats on a hill when his combine lost traction in the soil and flipped down the hill.
“He called at first and said he was turned over in his combine. Once we got there he definitely needed some help,” said friend and neighbor Bryon Fennigkoh.
69 year old Rich Schomberg was rushed to the hospital with life threatening injuries, but according to one family member he is doing better and it is no longer life threatening.
“He’s farmed here all his life, and I’ve known the man all his life.
He’s a great guy,” said Fennigkoh.
The dry conditions caused Schombergs combine to lose traction and start tumbling down the hill…
“It flipped 3-4 times for sure. It landed against a tree and that’s where it wound up on the hill,” said Fennigkoh.
UW-Extension Agriculture Agent, Steve Huntzicker says the dry conditions make it dangerous for farmers all over the state.
“Wet or dry there are certain dangers that come with it. Operating on certain soil types can leave soil loose. Other places it can almost become slippery as we get hard dry conditions,” said Huntzicker.
“I talked to people and they said you can dig down 4-5 feet and not find any moisture in the ground,” said Fennigkoh.
Now-a-days, most farming equipment is equipped with safety features.
“Whether it be seat belts, to roll over protection. The machines are built to hopefully keep them in that spot and keep them from being thrown out of the machine. That prevents the machine from rolling onto them.”
The Center for Dairy Farm Safety does offer safety courses for farmers of all ages. To find a course in your area CLICK HERE.