Indiana Farm Deaths Skyrocketed In 2016
By Mike Perleberg
(West Lafayette, Ind.) – More people died on Indiana farms last year than any year since 1990.
The Indiana Farm Fatality Summary from Purdue University says there were 44 work-related, on-farm deaths in the state in 2016. The figure, up 57 percent from 28 deaths in 2015, is the third-highest number of fatalities in the past 47 years.
Purdue Extension safety specialist Bill Field said even with last year’s jump, the number of farm fatalities reported in the state has been steadily decreasing since 1970.
“We have experienced spikes over the years and this may prove to be another statistical outlier,” said Field. “However, I am concerned that the number of older farmers, part-time and hobby farmers, and those involved with cutting wood who are injured is increasing.”
Sixteen of the deaths were tractor-related. Six others involved falling trees or logs. The others ranged from incidents with livestock, grain bin entrapment, off-road vehicles incident, and more.
Four of the victims were children age 17 or younger.
A handful of the deadly farm accidents happened locally in 2016. In January, a farmer in Franklin County died after being pushed by a cow into a concrete structure. In May, a Dearborn County farmer died after his tractor overturned into a pond. In July, a 21-year-old man died when an ATV wrecked in a farm drainage ditch. In December, a man died when he was thrown from a tractor struck by a vehicle in Ripley County.