As the busy harvest season commences, the Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce (DACC) encourages all farmers to take time to care for themselves.

During the harvest season, the DACC Ag Committee will travel the countryside in the Northwest quadrant (west of Highway 52 and north of Highway 9) of Winneshiek County distributing bags filled with provisions to every field worker they find. The reusable bags have included everything from pop/water to first-aid kits, work gloves to homemade cookies and much more, all donated by DACC member businesses.

Emily Kurash, DACC director of communications and programming states, "Weather permitting, we will distribute the bags on October 23. Our goal is to stop the farmers while they are working and remind them to take care of themselves during the harvest season. What better way to encourage them to take a break than by bringing them provisions right in the fields."

The Stay Safe "Take a Break" project began in 2004 in an effort to help fight farmer fatigue and keep workers safe in Winneshiek County during the fall harvest season. The program was designed to be implemented over a four-year period with 200 bags delivered each year in a different quadrant of Winneshiek County.

Farm safety is an important issue year-round. However, when farmers are harvesting, the importance of safety comes to the forefront. Winneshiek County is home to more than 2,000 active farms producing hogs, dairy and beef cattle, corn, soybeans, hay and other produce. The DACC realizes that many farmers are trying to make the most of the sunny and dry days, and wants to encourage everyone working long hours to take adequate breaks to ensure their own and others safety.

The DACC provides resources and programs to promote its member business interests and enhance the business environment of the Decorah Area.

For more information on how you can contribute to this and other ag-related programs, contact the DACC at (563)382-3990.

"Thank you for supporting agriculture in our community," said Kurash.