For the city dwellers, farms are a great place to visit. Those children who have never visited a farm have strange ideas as to how the place will be and how operations are carried out. Mostly children who go to school have learnt from their books as to how the crops which we eat like wheat, rice and cereals are grown but majority of children have bookish knowledge and a plan to visit a farm is not less than a fantasy for them.
Before visiting a farm it is essential to give children some knowledge of the type of equipment used on the farm and dangers they could face from such equipment if they are not careful. When at a farm they should be encouraged to participate in the farming operation going on. This will make them aware of the difficulties faced by the growers and will learn how not to waste food and take care of mother earth and nature.
There are a variety of hazardous equipments that are available on the farm. These include a variety of farm machinery used for operations starting from tilling to harvesting. When visiting a farm it is essential that the children should be made aware of the functions carried on with each set of machines. Care should be taken that the child does not try to handle or go in close proximity of the equipment especially when in operation. Generally the machinery used on big farms is quite large in size and it is not possible to monitor it from all sides by the operator. The child who is not well versed with the equipment should not sit on it and try to fiddle with it.
Even in case a kid is allowed to sit with the operator, he should just sit and watch and should not to try to participate in working on it along with the operator. In addition to the equipment used for farming operations there could be trucks, pickup vans and other transport equipment. These should be kept beyond the reach of the child. Similar is the case with processing equipment if installed at the farm. The child should observe how farm produce is converted into different products but should not try to practice the process himself.
In addition to the machinery, animals are also there on the farm. Before the child ventures towards animals he should be taught to respect the animals and not to beat them or tease them. The child should not go near the newly born calf if any. The mother of the calf may become furious in such a case. Generally animals will not try to harm humans but if they are disturbed they could become furious and hit the humans in self defence. If the child rides a horse he should wear safety gadgets like a helmet, leg and arm guards. After touching any animal the child should properly wash his hands as there could be chances of infection transferring from animals to children. Never allow the child to go near the animals to kiss them as they may get infected.
Generally on all big farms there are silos used to store farm produce. These are mechanically operated. When they are being filled with grain or emptied they could act as hazards for kids who may get trapped, leading to suffocation. Also during these processes a lot of dust surrounds the atmosphere around. This should be avoided especially by the city born and brought up kids.
At many places on the farms, for the convenience of the workers, temporary structures are erected and temporary ladders are put up. Ladders will also be found on the silos. Children should not be allowed to try to climb these temporary ladders as these are without safety equipment and a fall could cause injury to the child.
Considering the nature of farming operations being carried out on the farm a variety of chemicals are used in the process. These include pesticides used to keep the pests away and damaging the crop and other chemicals could be for maintenance of farm equipment. Spraying operation is carried by mechanical means. Poisonous pesticides are sprayed to kill pests. The child should never be allowed to touch the pesticides or other chemicals as he will be playing directly with poison without any safeguard.
Electricity is the source of power for many types of equipments. Generally at the farm the electric wiring and connectors are not that sophisticated as used in our homes in cities. The child should be told not to try to touch any electric junction box and should not go near the electric wires with wet shoes and hands.
Likewise there could be many more danger spots on the farm. These could be water storage pits or manure pits, the child should not venture towards them as these are mostly not bounded. Machines generally emit high pitch sounds which could be dangerous to the ear drums.
Though it seems very simple to visit a farm, but a child should be made aware of all these and many other potential hazards that the he may face so that the visit is a memorable experience.