A contract is an essential business tool. Farmers sign agreements and contracts as a part of running the business. Rental contracts, supply management agreements and production contracts and some types of formal agreements that a farmer might sign in the daily running of the farming operation. Even when employing a farm hand, an agreement is set up. Rates of pay, benefits, hours of work and expectations are all detailed to protect both the employer and the employee. It’s always a good idea to get two parties to get an agreement in writing, and that holds true with parents and kids too.
Farm kids are lucky to grow up on a farm. They learn the value of hard work and gain respect and love for the land. Of course, along with all of the positives of growing up on the farm, farm kids are also exposed to hazards and risks that can put their safety and health in jeopardy. So, instead of yelling and lecturing farm kids about safety, why not work together to write down the safety rules for your farm?
A farm safety contract has all sorts of benefits. Not only does it instill the importance of safety, but it gives the child a sense of control over something that affects them directly. Kids, just like adults, need reasons for rules. A lecture or a “because I said so” might make sense to a parent, but maybe not so much for a kid. Taking the time to explain why some areas are off limits on the farm or why there are rules around certain things can help children understand why it’s not safe.
The contract requires problem-solving communication. Sometimes it’s not easy to have difficult discussions, using a contract can open up communication — it becomes a tool. Listening is just as important as talking when negotiating a contract. Parents may even learn something from their child just by taking the time to discuss and negotiate the safety rules for their farm!
A contract is also something very meaningful to the parties that sign it. Just like signing a contract for a bank loan, signing a farm safety contract means something to each person that signs it. Even to a young person, a contract means something important and serious. Signing a contract with your child shows that you have respect for them and for the safety rules on your farm.
Lastly, a contract teaches kids the importance of commitments and obligations. A signature on that contract means they are committed to following the rules and decided with their parents. It is an ever-reminder that they promised something and this can help them make better choices to protect their safety.
Conversations are as important that tips, rules or contracts. A farm safety contract is a conversation starter, and a way for kids to bring up things they may be worried about. It also demonstrates that parents are open to talking to their kids about safety. Encouraging your child to always feel ok about coming to you is always a good thing.
For more information about Keeping Kids Safe and Canadian Agricultural Safety Week, visit agsafetyweek.ca.
Canadian Agricultural Safety Week (CASW) is a public awareness campaign focusing on the importance of farm safety. CASW takes place every year during the third week of March. In 2016, CASW takes place March 13 to 19. CASW 2016 is presented by Farm Credit Canada. For more information visit agsafetyweek.ca.