Author: Amber Pearson

Two Maryland Fire Departments Will Keep Farm Workers Safer, Thanks to Nationwide

Nationwide® continues to be on the farmer’s side with mindful concern about their safety, augmenting the protection they provide through insurance and other services. This month Nationwide awarded 48 fire departments in the U.S. with grain rescue tubes and training, which can help save farm workers who may become entrapped in grain bins. Winners included two Maryland fire departments.  

In a national contest with more than 1,000 applicants, Nationwide® in partnership with the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS), awarded fire departments based on nominations. Applications stated why the tube and training is needed in their area, and how they could help their neighboring fire departments if they won.

In Maryland, the Friendsville Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department in Friendsville and the Willards Volunteer Fire Department in Willards won. Regionally, other winners included:

  • Cambridge Springs Volunteer Fire Department, Cambridge Springs, PA
  • Camden-Wyoming Fire Company, Camden, DE
  • Citizens Volunteer Fire Company, Fawn Grove, PA
  • Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Department, Edinboro, PA
  • Rawlinsville Volunteer Fire Company, Holtwood, PA.

NECAS, based out of Peosta, Iowa, will deliver the rescue tubes and training to the winning agencies throughout 2021, traveling to each location with state-of-the-art grain entrapment simulators and rescue tubes. The comprehensive training sessions include classroom education and rescue simulations using the entrapment tools, which are loaded onto 20-foot trailers and able to hold about 100 bushels of grain each. 

According to researchers at Purdue University, more than 900 cases of grain engulfment have been reported in the past 50 years with a fatality rate of 62%. In 2020, grain entrapments led to 20 deaths.

Maryland Farm Bureau is proud to be a supporter of this program. With 2021 donations included, Nationwide® and partners have supplied these resources to 200 departments across 30 states. At least four fire departments have utilized their rescue tubes and training to successfully rescue entrapped workers.

Learn more here at Nominate Your Fire Department Contest, a key piece of Nationwide’s Grain Bin Safety advocacy campaign.

Tax Proposals Put Future of American Farms at Risk

Tax Proposals Put Future of American Farms at Risk

WASHINGTON, September 8, 2021 – The American Farm Bureau Federation, along with 46 state Farm Bureaus and 280 organizations representing family-owned agribusinesses, sent a letter today to congressional leaders urging them to leave important tax policies in place as they draft legislation implementing President Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda. The letter addresses four key tax provisions that make it possible for farmers and ranchers to survive and pass their businesses on to the next generation: estate taxes, stepped-up basis, 199A small business deduction and like-kind exchanges.

“The policies Congress enacts now will determine agricultural producers’ ability to secure affordable land to start or expand their operations,” the letter states. “Regardless of whether a business has already been passed down through multiple generations or is just starting out, the key to their longevity is a continued ability to transition when a family member or business partner dies. For this reason, we firmly believe the current federal estate tax code provisions must be maintained.”

These tools are as crucial as ever as the number of farmers and ranchers 65 and older outnumber those 35 and under by a four-to-one margin. More than 370 million acres are expected to change hands in the next two decades.

“As the economic backbone of nearly every county and rural community across the U.S., the importance of American agriculture and related industries cannot be overlooked,” the letter continues. “Farmers, ranchers, and family-owned agribusiness operators are responsible for producing the safe, affordable, and abundant food, fiber, and fuel supplies Americans enjoy every day. As the stewards of nearly 900 million acres of crop and rangeland, farmers and ranchers play an important role in terms of natural resource and land conservation. For agricultural producers, carrying on the legacy of our predecessors and setting the next generation up for success is critically important.”

Read the full letter here.


Mike Tomko
Office (202) 406-3642
Cell (410) 445-8829

Bailey Corwine
Office (202) 406-3643
Cell (785) 409-2050

Department Accepting Nominations for Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame

Department Accepting Nominations for Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame

August 5, 2021 Nominate exceptional farm families by October 22

ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Maryland Department of Agriculture is accepting nominations of farmers and farm families for the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame, which pays tribute to those who have dedicated their lives to the state’s leading industry. Nominations are due by Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. Those selected for induction will be honored during the “Taste of Maryland Agriculture” event on Feb. 3, 2022.

“Maryland farm families are the backbone of our state’s agriculture industry and our rural communities,”said Governor Larry Hogan. “Join me in recognizing Maryland’s great farm families by submitting a nomination for the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame.”

Any farm family that derives its income principally from farming is eligible for the award. The hall of fame, established in 1991, includes 53 farm families from 23 counties who have been honored for their high standards of conduct; personal values; contributions to their community; and performance, leadership, innovation, and achievement in agriculture.

University of Maryland Extension county offices serve as local nominating committee coordinators. Each local nominating committee is made up of the county extension educator, county farm bureau president, county fair representative, and county soil conservation district chairman. Each committee reviews a pool of candidates from its county and forwards a selection to the Governor’s Selection Committee. Only one farm family per county can be considered.

Applicants MUST work with their county Extension office in preparing the application, which should include as much information about the family as possible and address agricultural leadership, community activities, and technological and management advancements.

The selection committee includes the Dean of the University of Maryland’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the President of the Maryland Farm Bureau, and members of the agricultural community. This year’s application can be downloaded here. The deadline for nominations is Oct. 22, 2021, at 4 p.m.

For more information, please contact Jessica O’Sullivan at (410) 841-5882 or 

What are carbon markets in agriculture?

What are carbon markets in agriculture?

The following information is provided by Nationwide®, the #1 farm and ranch insurer in the U.S.*

There’s a lot of attention on lowering greenhouse gas emissions around the world. Agriculture is poised to take a leadership role in the effort. Here’s what to know about agricultural carbon credit markets and what they mean at the farm level.

Why carbon is so important today

Environmental sustainability is important to today’s food consumers –and it’s important to Nationwide®. The Nationwide Foundation is advancing research, education and outreach solutions to sustainable farming through over $16.8M invested in The Ohio State University — College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. Nationwide knows environmental sustainability is fundamental to agriculture’s future.

In response to growing consumer demand (i), food companies are creating new sustainability goals for their supply chains. This includes General Mills (ii), Nestle (iii) and McDonald’s (iv). The efforts are shining a spotlight on farm conservation.”There are many reasons companies and organizations are jumping into the development of these markets. A common driver for their development is to foster healthy soils and ecosystems and reduce emissions,” according to American Farm Bureau Federation Economist Shelby Myers (v). “Many of the corporations involved are focusing on the public goodwill they’ll earn as consumers see them as playing a part in improving conservation and biodiversity.”

Carbon credits for farmers

Now, agriculture companies have entered the carbon credit marketplace. The goal is to connect farm-level practices to food companies’ sustainability goals. And, it’s an effort to reduce agriculture’s carbon footprint.

Global agribusinesses like Bayer Cropscience (vi) and startups like Nori (vii) are creating systems to pay farmers to voluntarily integrate carbon-smart practices. According to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), those include:

•Cover crops
•Crop rotations
•Anaerobic digesters
•Buffer strips
•Tree establishment
•Conservation tillage

“These practices are used to improve soil health, reduce soil erosion, improve water quality and provide other natural resource benefits,” Myers said. “Many contribute to carbon sequestration.”

Farmer payments and other hurdles

Carbon-smart farming practices must offer financial benefit to farmers paying to integrate them into their operations. Food and ag companies are currently working to determine per-acre payment structures for those efforts. It’s a major hurdle to farm-level adoption.

“Growing a crop or raising livestock requires significant cash to cover the associated expenses. Some farms canextend their risk tolerance to participate, while others may not have the resources, financial or otherwise,” she said. “Barriers such as labor availability, education, verification costs and lack of quality broadband can prevent farmers and ranchers from being able to participate in these markets.”

A work in progress

There are a lot of questions to be answered as the carbon credit marketplace develops. Tying farm-level practices to specific value propositions for farmers will be critical to the market’s development. Given the rapid pace of change in the ag carbon marketplace, Myers advises staying informed as it develops.

“It seems like almost every month companies of various sizes across many industries are announcing new sustainability commitments, along with sustainability programs and markets that farmers and ranchers can participate in,” she said. “It’s important to note that these credit markets are constantly evolving, and many are still under development or being refined in pilot stages. There is much more to explore, company-by-company and asset-by-asset, before making any decisions.”

Nationwide is committed to protecting farmers and ranchers as they enter into the new ag carbon marketplace. Our Farm Certified agents will continue to stay on top of the evolving ag sector. We’ll be ready to ensure you can move forward with confidence, knowing your liabilities are covered.

Visit for more tips and information to help you navigate the changing agricultural landscape, run a successful business and maintain the safety of your farm operation.

Keep Your Rural Roads Safe


The following information is provided by Nationwide, the #1 farm and ranch writer in the U.S.*

Safely navigating large agricultural equipment over rural roads to and from the fields is a challenge for even the best drivers. Nationwide reminds farmers to consider the following rules on the safe operation of equipment to help reduce the risk of motor vehicle collisions.


Courts uphold agricultural equipment operator rights for road usage, and regulations for size and type usually don’t apply. But still take necessary precautions to prevent serious injury and damage and ensure that your equipment isn’t in violation. You know accidents can happen any time of day, but remember:

  • Working after dark: Turn on lights, use reflectors or conspicuity tape, display SMV (slow-moving vehicle) sign, consider escort vehicles
  • Trailer pulling: Don’t rely on power unit lights only; this increases collision risk if lights become obstructed
  • “Road rules”: Operators must understand driving hazards; regulations include specific training for equipment operation and environment navigation


Left Turns

Operators tend to pull to the right when making wide left turns. Motorists may view this as permission to pass. To prevent accidents:

  • Use turn signals or hand/arm signals
  • Check oncoming traffic
  • Check mirrors and blind spots


Before crossing rural bridges:

  • Ensure appropriate vehicle weight
  • Allow oncoming traffic to clear the bridge (reduces weight on bridge and provides you space to maneuver)
  • If tires have large lugs for traction, be cautious of guardrail contact that could inadvertently cause equipment to climb the rail or tip off the bridge
Passing cars

When driving a slow-moving vehicle, never wave a driver to pass. It’s the passing driver’s responsibility to pass – not yours. Also:

  • Don’t drive on the shoulder; you may sideswipe a passing vehicle if you have to swerve to avoid an oncoming mailbox or obstruction
  • Drive with the left side of your vehicle to the centerline, even if your equipment extends onto the shoulder; passing drivers should consider safety and the law before passing


Rear-end collisions

Rural road travelers can easily be surprised by a large, slow-moving vehicle — and misjudge their speed and gap distance. To avoid rear-end collisions:

  • Monitor mirrors for fast-approaching vehicles
  • Ensure that the vehicle’s warning devices, such as SMV signs, are visible
  • Consider vehicle escorts on heavily traveled paved roads


For more farm safety tips, contact your local Nationwide farm agent or visit  

*A.M. Best Market Share Report 2019. Nationwide, the Nationwide N and Eagle, and Nationwide is on your side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.© 2021 Nationwide.

How to Prevent Combine Fires

How to prevent combine fires

The following information is provided by Nationwide®, the #1 farm and ranch insurer in the U.S.*

Large machinery fires —including those on and in farm combines and harvesters —cause around $20 million in property losses, untold millions in lost productivity and up to 50 serious personal injuries every year. But they can be prevented with attention to the three components of farm combine fire safety.

“Think in terms of how important prevention, detection and suppression all are to keeping your farm operation in business,” said Nationwide Agribusiness Business Development Director Kelly Grummert. “The whole goal of all three components of combine fire safety is to prevent machinery loss, protect the operator and ensure they all go home to their families every night.”

Inspect your combine harvester to minimize fire risk

Attention to fire safety starts well before a farm combine or harvester wheel turns. It starts at the farm shop or wherever a machine is stored year-round. Add the following to your routine post-harvest maintenance inspections to minimize fire risks:

  • Clean crop residue or engine fluids like fuel or grease around the machine that could easily ignite in the presence of an external heat source.
  • Clear plant material from bearings, belts and other potentially heat-generating components.
  • Follow manufacturer’s recommendations for maintenance and lubrication prior to storing your harvester for a long period of time, paying close attention for potential leaks in hoses or fittings.
  • Make sure your machine is stored away from external heat sources like furnaces or other heating elements that can lead to fire.


Monitor equipment for excessive heat

Fast forward a few months to harvest; once ready to hit the field, that’s when your farm combine or harvester safety should broaden to include fire detection and notification.
Advancing sensor technology available today can monitor heat generated around key components to ensure they’re within operating temperature ranges and aren’t creating enhanced fire risk.
“If it’s getting too hot, it will alert the farmer so he or she can take quick action to prevent that overheating from developing into a fire,” Grummert said. “We’re looking at sensors like these as ways to cut down significantly on harvester losses and the risks they create for the machine’s operator. This technology is helping us become better at fire detection when a machine is running in the field at harvest.”
Thermal imaging can also help with fire detection. Because equipment can show problems in the form of excessive heat before they fail, early identification of anomalies is a critical step in preventing possible combine fires.

Equip your combine with fire extinguishers

A combine or harvester can go up in flames ina matter of minutes. If you’ve detected an overheating component or small fire early on, you can still take action to prevent it from engulfing the machine. Make sure you have fire extinguishers both in the cab as well as near likely trouble spots around the machine so you can take quick action. And make sure they’re inspected and in working order at all times.

“The whole goal of prevention, detection and suppression on these machines is to avoid the loss, protect the operator and ensure no one is hurt orworse,” Grummert said. “We want to help farmers prevent these losses so they’re safe, don’t experience interruptions at harvest and can keep trucking along in a hugely important time for most operations.”
Visit for more tips and information to help you navigate the changing agricultural landscape, run a successful business and maintain the safety of your farm operation.
*A.M. Best Market Share Report 2019. Nationwide, the Nationwide N and Eagle, and Nationwide is on your side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.© 2021 Nationwide.
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