Report: Two Ag-Related Deaths Locally In 2012

Page, Shenandoah Counties Had One Incident Each

Posted: January 21, 2013

HARRISONBURG — While Page and Shenandoah counties each had one farm-related death last year, Rockingham County was free of agricultural fatalities. 

But the state at large experienced a jump from seven farm-related deaths in 2011 to 10 last year, according to the Virginia Farm Bureau’s unofficial statistics on the matter.

Eight of the deaths were related to tractors, with tractor runovers accounting for four, unspecific tractor or equipment incidents resulting in three and a tractor overturn causing one.

Since 1994, tractor overturns alone have accounted for 107 deaths in Virginia.  

“As far as the type of accident, we are pretty consistent with what’s going on nationwide,” Virginia Farm Bureau safety manager Jimmy Maass said.

Although the number has increased, it’s much lower than it has been historically, he explained. And, Maass added, it does tend to fluctuate quite a bit within a certain range. 

In 2006, farm-related incidents claimed 11 lives in Virginia, the lowest the number had fallen to since 1995.

But the next year, that number skyrocketed to 22. Since then, the number of fatalities has stayed below 15.

Even though farm deaths have been on the decline in general, one local resident won’t be happy until they reach zero.
“Any of them is too many,” says Art Mitchell, a Keezletown farmer and retired high school ag teacher.

Mitchell helps out with the annual home and farm safety field day sponsored by Rockingham Memorial Hospital.

This year’s event is scheduled for Feb. 9 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds. Classes will address safety concerns related to survival, small animals and tractors.

Registration is required by Feb. 1. The event costs $5 per person or $10 per family. To register, call RMH Healthsource at 564-7200.

For more information, call coordinator Vickie Davis at 564-5622.

Contact Candace Sipos at 574-6275 or

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