Welcome to the ACRE

The Agronomy Center for Research and Education, ACRE, is an outdoor laboratory for Purdue Agriculture. Used for field research and hands-on teaching, the 1,135 acre farm is a busy place with faculty, staff, student, and visitor activity. I am Jim Beaty. I have been Superintendent of the ACRE since 1986. With my four full time staff members, part time help, and student employees we are responsible for operating the research farm. About 53 university researchers conduct projects here at the ACRE. I plan to write about our research, visitors, and farm safety thoughts.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

ACRE Safety Thought #11

Handling treated seed or even treating seed packets with fungicide or insecticide or safener can expose workers to chemical exposure. Workers doing this need WPS training at a minimum and must be under the supervision of someone with a certified pesticide applicator’s license. Exposure can come from skin touching the treated seed or the chemical. Or exposure can come from inhalation. Depending on the procedure and the pesticide label certain Personal Protective Equipment safeguards need to be used. These PPE may include protective gloves, protective eye shields, or even a cartridge respirator. REM regularly provides our workers with WPS training. It is scheduled through the Agronomy Main Office. Certified Pesticide Applicator training comes from the Pesticide Office in Botany with testing and certification from the Indiana State Chemist’s Office in Biochemistry. Remember that every field worker at ACRE or the PACs is required to have the WPS training at a minimum. Think, plan, train, and work safely at the ACRE. Thanks Jim

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

ACRE Safety Thought #10

Since 1999 the people using the ACRE forklift have been required to be trained and certified in its safe operation. Purdue's REM runs our training and certification. No one should be operating this forklift without that training. Re-certification is conducted for the current group of 12 certified operators. A new class will be taught for 1st time users of the fork lift soon. If you or one of your staff need training for the ACRE forklift, please let me know. Think, plan, train, and work safely at ACRE. Thanks Jim Beaty

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

ACRE Safety Thought #09

As simple as it may sound, transporting your employees around the ACRE can be a safety issue. Riders on a tractor are not permitted unless the tractor has an enclosed cab and buddy seat. Employees are not to ride in the back of a pick-up or on the tailgate. Drivers need Purdue driver certification. The utility carts like the Gators, Mules, etc. should only have riders on the appropriate seats and not in the utility bed. Some combines, like some tractors, have a cab with a passenger seat and riders are acceptable there. So as part of your Project Specific Safety Training Outline, please note how your project supervisor expects to move your employees safely. Plan, train, and work safely at the ACRE. Thanks. Jim

Monday, October 25, 2010

ACRE Safety Thought #08

Hitching up equipment to a tractor or a trailer to a truck are jobs sometimes conducted at ACRE. The driver must protect the individual helping with the connection. Visibility, slow controlled speed, and communication, either verbal or signaled, are critical. At the moment of connection the driver should have the device in park with a foot on the brake. Points to remember; Tongue hitches must always go to the drawbar, 3-point hitches should be with the correct category pins and locked in, and trailer hitches must have the correct size ball and coupler with two safety chains secured. Also remember that the pulling device must have the capacity to control and safely stop the pulled implement or trailer. If your project does any of this, then that job should be listed in your “Project Specific Safety Checklist.” Your employees must be trained to work safely when hitching equipment or trailers and driving them in the field or down the road. Plan, train, and work safely at the ACRE. Thanks. Jim

Sunday, October 24, 2010

ACRE Safety Thought #07

Protecting fingers, hands, and arms from pinch points or entanglement in threshers, shellers, or shredders is important when working at ACRE. Seed collection, cleaning, and packaging are jobs that often require a motorized piece of equipment. Feeding plant material into the open throat of a device requires training and a safe operating procedure to reduce the risk of pinching or entanglement. If your project does any of this, then that job should be listed in your “Project Specific Safety Checklist.” Your employees must be trained to work safely around this type of equipment. Plan, train, and work safely at the ACRE. Thanks. Jim

Friday, October 22, 2010

ACRE Safety Thought #06

The ACRE has a Wood Shop with power equipment that many employees use. Items built in the Wood Shop have aided many projects at ACRE. However, before anyone uses any piece of equipment in the Wood Shop it is important that they be trained to use that shop tool safely. Additionally eye protection is a required necessity when using power shop tools. If you ask employees to use shop tools then add that to the list of items to discuss on your Project Specific Safety Training outline. Plan, train, and work safely at the ACRE. Thanks. Jim

Thursday, October 21, 2010

ACRE Safety Thought #05

A Power Take-off Shaft or PTO is the mechanical device that transfers power from a tractor to an implement with a rotating shaft. If you use a tractor with a PTO, it is critical that you and all of your personnel understand the danger of PTO entanglement. The shaft spins at either 540 or 1000 rounds per minute and can entangle loose clothing rather rapidly. Once clothing becomes entangled, then the human body can rapidly be caught and death or serious injury will follow. For safety all PTO shafts are required to be shielded as a preliminary precaution. For safety sakes it is critical to avoid contact with a rotating PTO. Never step over a shaft as a short cut, so please walk around. Never wear loose clothing near a PTO shaft. Be trained on the identification of a PTO shaft and practice safety. Plan, train, and work safe at the ACRE. Thanks. Jim

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

ACRE Safety Thought #04

To avoid a tragic accident we are focused on the way we transport visitors and employees around the farm. We have new “commercial” people movers for field day and tour groups. We shall never move people, employees or visitors, in the back of pick-ups or on the tailgates. We must develop this attitude of safety and hauling people around in a safe manner is a top priority. “We” means you, me, and all of us. Plan, train, and work safely at the ACRE. Thanks. Jim (revised from an article first published January 30, 2009 in the Purdue Agronomy Weekly Newsletter.)

Monday, October 18, 2010

ACRE Safety Thought #03

I’ve talked about safety as an “attitude” as much as a “set of rules.” I’ve talked about outlining a list of safety hazards to identify for each specific research project and giving employees “project specific safety training.” Now I’d like for you to think about following through on safety education with “informed supervision.” Make sure the first time you send someone to the farm (or your lab on campus) that they have an “informed employee” show them potential risks and train them on a procedure to work safely. The training employee needs to assure that the new employee does in fact recognize the hazard and understands how to work safely. Plan, train, and work safely at the ACRE. Thanks. Jim ( The was first published in the Purdue Agronomy Weekly Newsletter in Dec 2008)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

ACRE Safety Thought #02

Safety is as much an “attitude” as it is a “set of rules.” Researchers and other ACRE users should consider safety training for themselves and employees. Then practice safety. Jim Beaty’s #1 reason that you should think about safety; “I care about everyone’s life and health. You should care about yours’ and your workers too.” Jim’s #2 reason; “I don’t want to have to call or face a loved one with bad news about a death or injury. It would break my heart. You don’t either.” Plan, think, train, and work safely at the ACRE. Thanks. Jim (First published in December 2008 in the weekly Purdue Agronomy Newsletter)

ACRE Safety Thought #01

A Safety Thought for ACRE Researchers. Protect yourself, your employees, and your students while working. Think about and prepare a “Project Specific Safety Plan” for your work at the ACRE. Do you have special hazards that should be addressed? Like tractor operation, moving PTO shafts, powered moving belts or pulleys, stationary threshers, etc. Please identify hazards and train your people to work safely. Thanks, Jim Beaty (First published Dec 12, 2008 in the weekly Purdue Agronomy Newsletter)