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Home » From the Commissioner

Promoting Effective Safety Efforts on Farms

New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food (March 24, 2012)

Since the NH ROPS Rebate Program was launched in late 2010, 34 older-model tractors have been retrofitted with Rollover Protection Systems (ROPS). ROPS, also commonly known as rollbars, are truly life-saving equipment that effectively prevents the most common cause of death and injury in farming. When ROPS are used with a seatbelt, 99% of operators survive a rollover. Even without a buckled seatbelt, the survival rate is at least 70%.

The NH ROPS Rebate program funds 70% of the cost of purchase and installation, up to $765. The department is able to make this program available to New Hampshire tractor owners through a partnership with the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH), which is designated by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health as the Northeast Center for Agricultural Health. NYCAMH provides the website and coordinates the process of taking applications, advising on the availability of equipment suited to the specific tractor model, and approving the rebate payment upon completion of installation. Tractor owners order their ROPS through their dealers, and can have it installed professionally or do it themselves if they have the required skills.

The New Hampshire Farm and Rural Education Foundation (NHFREF) handles all the money and remits the rebate to the tractor owner upon notice from NYCAMH that the installation has been completed. All of the funding for the rebates comes from donations, and all of the donations go to fund ROPS rebates. The NH ROPS Rebate Program has recently received an infusion of $20,000 in cash contributions that will help make significant progress on the waiting list. Please thank the companies that have generously joined the department in contributing to this program:

The Co-operative Insurance Companies         $6,250

Farm Family Insurance Companies                    5,000

Townline Equipment, Plainfield                              700

FB Spaulding& Co., Lancaster                              200

James Rosencrantz & Son, Kensington                200

F.B. Spaulding is a new contributor, while the others all contributed in the first year of the program as well. Both the Cooperative Insurance Companies and Farm Family Insurance Companies have significantly increased their support this year. The high rate of response among New Hampshire farmers to the ROPS Rebate program shows they want to improve safety on their farms—for themselves, their employees and their families. The generosity and support of the businesses are helping farmers to invest in ROPS protection for their tractors. That includes several equipment dealers who are helping to find the best buys on equipment and installing program ROPS at their cost.

Youth on farms suffer 21.3 deaths per thousand workers—the statistics which the U.S. Department of Labor was trying to address with the proposed new rule that was recently retracted. Only 25% of injuries to children and youth on farms involve young people who are working. Most are injured while playing, or as visitors or bystanders. The Department of Labor did not acknowledge the 59% reduction in injuries to children who live on, visit and are hired on farms over the last decade. These significant safety gains result from education and training efforts, improved equipment, and the concerted efforts of farm families and the agricultural community.

Now the funding for the NIOSH Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (AFF) Program—which funds 100% of the non-rebate funding for the ROPS program through NYCAMH—is under threat in Congress. The AFF program addresses the needs of the family businesses in three of the most dangerous occupations in America.

The National Safety Council ranks agriculture as the deadliest occupation, with 28.6 deaths per thousand workers. Overturned tractors are the number one cause of those deaths, and an estimated one out of every two tractors in use on farms and ranches lacks ROPS. Farmers, fishermen and loggers need education and training, support services and affordable access to essential safety equipment—all of which are supported by the regional centers.

Lorraine Merrill, Commissioner                                                                        

(reprinted from the Weekly Market Bulletin, March 21, 2012)


The NH Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food Division of Agricultural Development compiles market information and publishes the Weekly Market Bulletin for the agriculture community. The Bulletin is the department’s ‘publication of record’ and includes appropriate industry notices, announcements, seasonal information and market survey data. Subscribers may advertise in the popular agricultural classified advertising at no charge. One-year subscriptions are $28 for delivery by U.S. Postal Service, or $22 for delivery by secure internet. Sign up for the Weekly Market Bulletin by calling the office at 271-2505 and providing a credit card for payment; or visit the office at 25 Capitol St., Concord; or mail in your request with a check. Be sure to provide your address, phone number, and if you are requesting an online subscription, an email address.


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