Grain Bin Safety Top of Mind at MSU Short Course

By Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

COLUMBUS, Miss. — During a grain bin safety demonstration, Benton Moseley pulled a couple of soft drink crates out of a storage compartment and explained why he carried them.

“The flow of the grain pulls the body down, so if somebody sees their buddy in a grain bin and decides to jump in, they’re going to knock some of that grain down and it could take that victim from partially to completely submerged,” said Moseley, a safety specialist with Mississippi Farm Bureau. “When the rescuer gets in there without building a proper bridge on top of the grain, he’s adding weight and packing the grain tighter around the victim, so throwing these crates in helps to make a walkway.”

Moseley’s audience at the East Mississippi Community College Communiversity facility on Aug. 2 ranged from first responders to farmers to Mississippi State University faculty. His presentation was on the second day of the 2023 MSU Seed and Agricultural Technology Short Course. The MSU Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station host the annual course for crop consultants, producers and seed and agricultural industry professionals.

Day One: Seed Laws and Treatments

Topics covered on the first day included state and federal seed laws, seed treatment processes and application equipment, biological and microbial seed treatment opportunities, safe use and environmental stewardship of treated seed, and policy and regulatory issues related to treated seed.

Presenters were mostly from MSU Extension but also included a panel discussion featuring industry advocates from Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation and the American Seed Trade Association. Representatives from the Mississippi Seed Testing Lab and the U.S. Department of Agriculture also spoke.

Policy Discussions and Industry Advocate

“Policy discussions are a very important thing, and it’s important for us to meet people who are working with lawmakers in Washington,” said Clint Russell, operations manager at B&S Seed company and Novus Ag. “(Advocates need) to hear from us because they’re the ones in Washington talking with the decision makers.

“I enjoy it when our Extension and MAFES people are doing the research because they are unbiased,” Russell added. “They are working more for the producers of Mississippi and giving them the information they need to make good decisions on their farm without any outside influence.”

Daniel Chesser, assistant professor in agricultural and biological engineering at MSU and coordinator of this course, said the short course’s design each year is to update industry professionals on seed development, marketing and transport alongside policy.

“Last year’s short course covered seed cleaning and processing topics and applications. This year’s focused more heavily on seed treatments, but each year we want to feature a wide range of content,” Chesser said. “Agricultural and seed technology advances so rapidly just like anything else in the world, so this is a good opportunity to update people from different areas of agriculture on these developments as well as changes to industry regulations.”

Jessica Drewry, assistant Extension professor at MSU in agricultural and biological engineering, said the grain bin rescue training provided a hands-on learning component to the course.

“Having something like this to augment the course is important because bringing people’s attention to safety is important,” she said. “It’s easy to forget some of the risks of any industry, so anytime we can have demonstrations like this one, people are learning the right things to do when something unexpected happens.”

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