|Source: Yinan Chen|
All medication has side effects, and even minor side effects can be deadly for farmers.
The Missouri AgrAbility Project's Pharm to Farm program helps farmers identify medical risks through their local pharmacist.
In many rural Missouri areas, pharmacists fill health care gaps and are the first line of defense in farm health and safety.
"Taking medicine increases risk of injury by two- to fourfold," said Kelly Cochran with Pharm to Farm.
That risk goes up as farms get larger and the average age of farmers nears 60, said Karen Funkenbusch, University of Missouri Extension health and safety specialist and Missouri AgrAbility director.
Medicines often cause dizziness, confusion, drowsiness, blurred vision, lightheadedness and gait problems.Many farmers do not share concerns with family members and friends, Funkenbusch said.
Cochran and pharmacy students from the University of Missouri at Kansas City help farmers identify medicines that may be of risk to them.They talk about ways to improve safety on the farm with on-site farmstead assessments.
Pharm to Farm students help pharmacists, often raised and educated in non-rural areas, learn about farm life and farm values -- independence, pride, thrift, skepticism and strong work ethic.They also talk about safety barriers in rural settings such as long work hours, seasonal deadlines and limited access to health care.
Ninety-eight of Missouri's 101 rural counties are considered primary care health professional shortage areas by the U.S.Department of Health and Human Services.At least four counties in northern Missouri have no pharmacies.Many of the state's residents are 10 miles or more away from the nearest drugstore.
Farmers with flooded wheat are taking a wait-and-see approach.
Dirty or even mud-caked wheat could benefit from more rain.
"See if rain washes away the soil," MU Extension agronomy specialist Greg Luce said. "Not much can be done until we see how wheat develops."
Making forage out of the sodden crop may be one option.
The best forage from wheat comes before seed heads start to form or after the grain fills the seed heads.Early wheat leaves still contain carbohydrates, which make good feed, Later, the nutrients move from leaves to seeds. "In between, you have low-quality stems," MU Extension forage specialist Craig Roberts said.
After seed set, wheat can be considered for grain harvest.Or it can be cut for forage.But the consensus was not to rush to harvest early.
Roberts said making silage from plants carrying lots of soil microorganisms is a concern.
"Some soil organisms, such as listeria, are harmful," he said. "These are common problems in some areas."