Preventing farming accidents: A mother’s quest and celebrity farmer’s push

The fall harvest means farmers are spending more time out in the fields and in grain storage bins which could lead to more accidents.

In 2019, Minnesota led the country in grain storage accidents and deaths according to research from Purdue University.

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“This is ordinary people this happens to, you don’t expect it,” said Michele Gran. “I would have never expected that we would have lost one of our children at 18-years-old.”

The Gran family lost their son Landon in a grain bin accident on a neighboring farm in St. Peter in August of last year.

“I feel as some of my efforts may have raised awareness to the problem,” Gran said.

After the Gran family’s push to lawmakers in St. Paul, farmers this harvest can apply to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture for funding to make grain storage safety improvements on their farms.

“If you can prevent it, please apply for the grant, make some necessary equipment safety changes, that could save a life, it’s so important," Gran said. ”You don’t want to live like this. I live every day with a hole in my heart.”

YouTube Star Farmer’s Push

More than 614,000 YouTube subscribers know him as the Millennial Farmer, but around west-central Minnesota, he also answers to the name Zach Johnson.

The fifth-generation Minnesota farmer takes his camera around during his day and captures life on the farm and people watch, including his latest video on grain bin safety.

You can find a link to his grain bin safety video here.

“There’s been such a rash of grain bin incidents here in the upper Midwest —through grain bin entrapment under grain, or people getting stuck in augers,” Johnson said. “There’s been an issue with that, I know Minnesota has been high.”

Johnson recently started a new grain bin safety project to raise money for rescue equipment and training to help first responders in rural communities. A link to the fundraiser can be found here.

“I hope that none of it ever gets used, but just to know it’s there is peace of mind for a lot of people,” Johnson said.

More than 130 groups have reached out to the Millennial Farmer saying they could benefit from grain bin rescue training and equipment.