By Erin Prokopowich
On September 23, 2021, the Parkland family medicine residency team in Dauphin was able to gather and travel to farms in the region to learn about farm safety. Farm safety has been a part of the training program since its inception in the early 1990s.
The first stop of the day was at a century grain farm near Sifton, Man. Veteran grain farmer Peter Prokopowich had several stations set up for the group to review. The first station included an auger with a demonstration of moving grain from a granary to the grain truck. Auger injuries and the risks of climbing to the top of grain bins were discussed. A story was told that took place on a chilly, November evening many years ago. Peter climbed to the top of the grain bin, and when reaching the top, the ladder fell, making the descent a difficult feat. Power take offs on equipment, swathers, combines and spraying equipment were reviewed. Peter showed the group the difference between untreated and treated canola seed and the dangers of handling treated seed.
This year’s drought was a hot topic on the tour. Cattle farmer Chris Morgan joined the group to talk about the ins and outs in the day of a cattle farmer. We spoke about the cost of feed this year and ultimately how this will affect many farm families. Chris walked the group through the life cycle of a cow and discussed disease prevention and illness management of the animals.
The third stop of the day was at the Devos dairy farm in Fork River, Man. Farmers Bronsin, Hanna, and Candace Devos toured the group through their state-of-the-art facilities. The team met calves and discussed the importance of the calf’s nutrition in the first 24-36 hours of their life. The group watched cows producing milk and discussed the storage and transport process from farm to table.
“The rural roots of the Dauphin Family Medicine program runs deep and farm day showed us a glimpse of our regions farming heritage. Despite many of us not growing up with a farming background, we can appreciate this year has been a tough one with the lack of precipitation,” said Dr. Jessica Sproule, chief resident with the Parkland program. “I think it is safe to say that all of us did learn about what can go wrong in farming but more importantly, it reminds us of the challenges of delivering care in rural communities, particularly during harvest.”
The group plans for their next farm day in 2022, with a goal of learning about egg and honey farming.