During the October harvest season the Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce (DACC) Ag Committee will travel the countryside in the southwest quadrant of Winneshiek County distributing bags filled with provisions donated by local businesses to every field worker they find.
The coolers include everything from pop/water to first-aid kits, welding beanies to homemade cookies and much more.
"Weather permitting we will distribute the coolers on Wednesday, Sept. 26," said Kristina Wiltgen, DACC director of operations states. "Our goal is to stop the farmers while they are working and remind them to take care of themselves during the harvest season. What better way to encourage them to take a break than by bringing them provisions right there in the fields."
The "Stay Safe, Take a Break" project began in 2004 in an effort to help fight farmer fatigue and keep workers safe in Winneshiek County during the fall harvest season. The program was designed to be implemented over a four-year period with 200 coolers delivered each year in a different quadrant of Winneshiek County.
"The project was so successful, it has been continued into its ninth year with plans to keep it going another four at least," said Wiltgen.
Winneshiek County is home to more than 2,000 active farms producing hogs, dairy and beef cattle, corn, soybeans and hay. The DACC realizes many farmers are trying to make the most of the sunny and dry days and want to encourage everyone working long hours to take adequate breaks to ensure their own safety and the safety of others.
The DACC Ag Committee works in the interest of the farming communities throughout Winneshiek County. Other projects include a spring ag appreciation luncheon featuring local commodities and a June dairy luncheon at a local dairy farm in honor of dairy month. Scholarships are also provided to two area high school students planning to study agriculture.