Bassett’s New York Center for Agricultural Medicine & Health Reaches Major Milestone in Farm Safety 

More Than 2,000 Rollbars Installed Across New York State to Prevent Tractor Rollovers

Bassett Healthcare Network’s New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health’s (NYCAMH) highly successful Rollover Protection System (ROPS) Program has provided 2,000 tractor rollbars to New York State farmers since the program’s inception in 2007.

NYCAMH is dedicated to enhancing agricultural and rural health by preventing and treating occupational injury and illness.

ROPS are intended to protect equipment operators from injuries caused by vehicle overturns or rollovers. In New York, tractor rollovers have historically been the most common cause of farm injuries and fatalities. Tractor roll bars dramatically reduce the risk, but require retrospective installation on older tractors not originally built with these safety devices.

“New York farmers face countless daily challenges yet continue to deliver – providing us all with fresh, locally grown food while fueling our state’s number one industry,” says New York State Senator Peter Oberacker, R-C-Schenevus. “Making certain our farmers have proper safety equipment is crucial and that is why I am a strong advocate for the programs administered by NYCAMH. Reaching 2,000 ROPS delivered is a substantial milestone and I offer my congratulations to all involved for continuing to work so hard to keep our farmers safe and ensuring a strong future for agriculture.”

The ROPS program assists farmers with both the cost and installation of these vital safety devices. NYCAMH coordinates with the National ROPS Rebate Program, which covers up to 70 percent of cost to farmers of the ROPS kit (rollbar and seatbelt), shipping, and professional installation.

“While the impact of the ROPS program often focuses on the lives saved and injuries avoided as a result of the program, the impact has been in truth, far broader,” says Julie Sorensen, PhD, director of NYCAMH. “Farm owners can sleep better and worry less about having workers or family members on tractors that are not protected by ROPS.”

According to National ROPS Rebate Program data, seven out of 10 farms go out of business within five years of a tractor overturn fatality. While the tractor is the leading cause of death on farms, ROPS are 99 percent effective in preventing injury or death in the event of an overturn when used with a seatbelt, and 70 percent effective when used without a seatbelt.

Farmers who have participated in the program are enthusiastic. Allen Gage, who operates a 100-cow dairy farm in Chautauqua County, said the ROPS program “gives farmers, farm families, and farm workers a peace of mind that whoever is operating that tractor is safe.”

“ROPS gives me peace of mind that my husband and son are now protected,” said Laura Schreiner of Rensselaer County, whose 102-acre family farm includes beef cattle, horses, pigs, and chickens.

“This is a godsend to many farmers who would not be able to afford this safety feature without the help of the ROPS program. We cannot thank you and this great program enough,” wrote Mark and Kim Stillwell of Herkimer County.

“NYCAMH extends its gratitude for the unflagging support for the ROPS program to Senator Peter Oberacker, New York Farm Bureau, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Northeast Dairy Producers Association, and Northeast Equipment Dealers Association,” says Sorensen.