Tractor overturns are the leading cause of farm-related deaths. That’s why it’s so important that each tractor have a rollover protective structure (ROPS).
The National Farm Medicine Center will give away a free ROPS during the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting, Dec. 5-6, at Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells. Just register at the National Farm Medicine Center table, Booth 25. The drawing will be held during the final hour of the trade show on Sunday afternoon.
One lucky tractor owner will get the free ROPS (installation included), but everyone wins, because all who register for the drawing will automatically be enrolled in the National Farm Medicine Center Wisconsin ROPS Rebate Program, which reimburses owners up to 70 percent (maximum of $865) toward the total cost of purchasing, shipping and installing individual ROPS. Enrollees will be mailed retrofit options and costs for their particular tractor.
A ROPS is an operator compartment structure (usually cab or rollbar) intended to protect farmers from injuries caused by overturns. More than half the tractors in Wisconsin do not have this protection. A ROPS, when used with a seatbelt, is 99 percent effective in preventing injury or death in the event of an overturn.
“From a financial point of view, with the rebate, it is definitely the right time to retrofit,” said Bill Herr, a Clark County dairy farmer who lost a neighbor in a rollover. “From a safety point of view, you want to get the ROPS on as soon as possible so that we’re not putting ourselves or our family members in danger when we operate tractors.”
Tractor owners can also apply for a ROPS via the hotline, 1.877.767.7748 (1.877.ROPSR4U), or the Web site, www.ropsr4u.com. Either way, the owner provides basic information about his or her farm and tractors, and program staff do the leg work.
Nearly 130 ROPS have been installed in Wisconsin during the first two years of the rebate program, made possible through philanthropic support from the Auction of Champions. This three-minute video explains the ROPS program, http://www3.marshfieldclinic.org/nfmc/?page=nfmc_resources_rops_rebate.