Farms can be dangerous places and without the proper equipment, tasks can be very risky indeed. This is why Virginia Cooperative Extension is happy to offer a new grant program to help farms and the people who live and work on them to be safer.

The Lee County Livestock Association has received a grant from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission titled “Farm Safety Initiative for Far Southwest Virginia.” Offering the cost-share program gives Southwest Virginia’s producers the ability to improve safety on the farm. Farmers who have operations in Lee, Scott, Wise, Dickenson, Buchanan, Russell, Tazewell, Washington and Smyth counties who wish to work on farm safety, meet the basic qualifications, and fulfill the educational hours required will be eligible for funding based on first-come, first-serve. The cost-share funds may be used on qualifying safety equipment. 

One of the requirements of the grant is that each participant must attend a three-hour first-aid/farm safety training. Ella Frazier, nurses’ aid and EMT educator at Smyth Career and Technical Center, is teaching this course for those who are interested. The tentative date for the class is Tuesday, June 18, from 6-9 p.m. at the SCTC. The class is limited to 20 people, so I encourage you to call the office and sign up as soon as possible. The cost for the class is $20 to cover costs; no meal will be provided.

The reimbursement rate is 33 percent up to $3,000 reimbursement. A minimum receipt total has been set for $1,000 qualified purchases with a reimbursement of $330 to receive cost-share. Applicants must receive an official approval letter before they make purchases. All purchases must be made after the date of the approval letter. Those approved will have 120 days to make purchases and install practices. Extensions may be granted with just cause by the oversight committee. Applications will start being collected on a first-come, first-serve on Sept. 3 at the Smyth County Extension Office at 121 Bagley Circle, Suite 434. 

So what do the grant funds cover? Qualifying purchases include the following:

First Aid Kits;


Fire Extinguishers;

Roll Over Protection Structures;

Private Protective Safety Equipment (gloves, hearing protection, respirators, eyewear and related items);

Guards and Shields for Farm Equipment;

Safety Related Signs and Reflective Materials for Farm Equipment;

Safety Lighting for Equipment (includes strobe lights);

Rescue Equipment for Specific Agriculture Related Situations including livestock and corn bins;

Helmets for ATVs and RTVs;

Calf Catchers for ATVs and RTVs;

Animal Handling Facilities that Assist with Human Safety (includes gates, panels, crowd tube, squeeze chute, palpation cage, and flip tables);

Fuel tanks (includes truck, on farm tanks, and safety cans);

Covers for Sun Protection (includes canopies on equipment and over working facilities).

Qualifying participants must meet each of the requirements: They must own or rent (renting must have a written five-year lease) a farm in a qualifying county with FSA number and tract numbers. Of course, all grant recipients must attend the safety course to be offered. They must maintain and insure (structures and equipment) for five years from date of completion and must show proof of insurance on necessary structures and equipment. Finally, applicants must fill out a W9 with their application. 

Upcoming Events

June 17-21--Smyth County 4-H Camp.

June 18--Smyth County Farm Safety Course, SCTC (Trade School), 6-9 p.m.

June 21--Deadline to Consign Calves to July 17 VQA Sale.

June 24-27--Kentucky State Ag Agents Meeting, Owensboro.

July 17--VQA Sale, 7 p.m., Tri State Livestock Market.

July 19--Deadline to Consign Calves to August VQA Sale.

July 22--VQA Steer Take Up.

July 22--Wool Pool Take Up Day, Wytheville, 2-4 p.m.

July 24--VQA Heifer Take Up.

July 29-30--Rich Valley Fair Livestock Shows.

July 30--Wool Pool Take Up, Russell County, 10- 11:30 a.m.

July 31--Wool Pool Take Up, Tazewell, 8-10 a.m.

Aug. 21--VQA Sale.

Aug. 22--Forage Field Day at Glade Research Farm.

Aug. 26--VQA Steer Take Up.

Aug. 28--VQA Heifer Take Up.

Sept. 3--Smyth County Safety Grant Applications Available.



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Dr. Andy Overbay is Smyth County’s agriculture and natural resources extension agent.

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