Local farmer reacts to OSHA regulations

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By Tim McNicholas


Updated: Fri, 24 Jan 2014 09:49:40 CST

Feed the cattle, harvest the crop, upgrade equipment...

Farmers have plenty to worry about already.

Imagine piling a federal fine on top of that.

OSHA has been keeping a close tab on grain bin safety.

Fining one small farm around132 thousand dollars.

"It's just government regulators trying to make an example out of someone and I really don't think that's that fair,” Hall County farmer Travis Rainworth said.

It happened on a farm a lot like Travis Rainworth's.

OSHA fined a small Holt County Farm for failure to meet grain bin safety regulations.

But the federal agency is prohibited from regulating a farm with less than 10 employees.

Now Senator Mike Johanns is standing up for Nebraska's small farms.

OSHA says it wasn't out of line because the farmers chose to identify themselves as grain merchants.

"Are they really? They're probably just a small farm and they should be classified that way,” Ron Seymour said.

UNL Extension Educator Ron Seymour says the farmers he talks with are concerned about grain bin safety.

When they see a problem, they take care of it.

"Farmers don't need more regulation. They don't need inspectors walking on their farm at harvest time,” Seymour said.

57 grain bin engulfments were recorded in 2010...

31 of them fatal.

OSHA claims their regulatory campaign is saving lives.

But Senator Mike Johanns calls it an overreach.