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Give Your Farm Pond a Safety Check

Weekly Market Bulletin / L.T. Hurtz – Cornell University

Farm ponds can be an excellent resource to provide water for livestock, fish production, fire protection, irrigation and, yes, good clean recreational fun. Unfortunately, they don’t score high in terms of safety-except as tragic news items.

Drowning (in ponds, drainage ditches, canals and manure pits) is the second-leading cause of childhood agricultural-related deaths.

Even if an uninvited person drowns in your pond, you can be held liable if no safety measures are in place. Here are some basics of farm pond safety that should be on your “to-do” list.

  • Ponds should be fenced-especially those in remote areas on the farm.
  • Post signs indicating ‘No Swimming’ or ‘Danger’ if your pond is not for recreational use.
  • If swimming is allowed, designate an area and install rescue equipment.
  • Eliminate physical hazards and test water annually for contamination.
  • Teach children how to swim and always supervise.
  • Abstain from alcohol and drugs, and never swim alone.

Now is a good time to give your farm pond a safety check and learn CPR and water rescue techniques, because you never know.