Heat concerns in the farming industry

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - As the summer months get hotter, farmers should be aware of the threat behind heat strokes.

According to Branon Thiesse, University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Office staff agent, farmers can find themselves in a scary situation when working in the heat.

"You get to the point of having trouble moving around and stop sweating," said Thiesse. "It is something serious."

Thiesse said he always has a phone on him just in case something happens.

"Most of the tractors farmers have are air conditioned, but there is still a lot of outside work to be done," said Thiesse. "I make sure I am hydrated first of all but also have some way to contact someone if I find myself falling out because of the heat."

Thiesse said humans are not the only ones at risk of extremely high temperatures.

"When you get in the hot temps, we have rapid crop growth which is good and all, but then you have to deal with crop diseases spreading in the heat and humidity," said Thiesse.

He said because the temps have been ranging in the upper 80s and lower 90s, they have seen southern rust which spreads in corn, sheath blight which affects rice and an airborne fungus called blast.

"When the temps are hotter than the lower 90s, then those diseases die, but when it is not, this is the issue," said Thiesse.

Thiesse said to protect yourself, he recommends starting your work day hydrated and staying hydrated all day. He recommends to take breaks and to avoid working between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is shining the most.

"If you have ever had a heat stroke, you'll pay more attention to what you are doing," said Thiesse. "A lot of times, the first heat stroke may be your last. I'd rather see people not have to go through that."

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