Spraying your crops? Look up for power lines

July 18, 2020

We at Stearns Electric Association want to remind the community to look up and look out for power lines, especially as farmers are spraying their crops. Great River Energy, our wholesale power provider, also wants you to look up for their power lines.

“We’ve had two incidents already this year where farm equipment came into contact with our power lines,” said Kevin Hodgson, Great River Energy’s leader of transmission construction and maintenance. “We urge farmers with sprayers to take extra precaution. Since the sprayer booms can fold up, they’re at their highest—right where there could be a power line.”

It’s important to remember where your equipment is in relation to the power lines overhead. Before using your equipment, plan a route that will avoid overhead power lines or adjust your equipment before reaching power lines if you cannot avoid these areas.

We know everyone is busy in the fields this time of year with spraying their crops, but we want you to be aware of your surroundings and remember to look up. Those power lines are energized and bringing electricity to your farm, family and local businesses. Call 911 right away if you do come in contact with a power line.

Below are some tips for operating farm equipment around power lines:

  • Do not lift, elevate, build or pass under a power line anything that may make contact or come close to contact with the power line.
  • Equipment, antennas and people should stay at least 15 feet away from any energized power line to help prevent arc flashing.
  • Equipment that can be extended, such as a stack mower or grain elevator, require the utmost care when near a power line.
  • Physical contact with a power line is extremely hazardous and may cause a lethal shock. Equipment should not be operated under a power line in a manner that would cause contact or near contact.

If you do come in contact with a power line:

  • Call 911 as soon as possible and keep the area clear until help arrives.
  • If you can do so without risking your machinery or damaging utility infrastructure, drive at least 40 feet away.
  • If the vehicle is on fire or you must exit for other safety reasons, jump clear so that no part of your body touches the equipment and ground at the same time, and land with feet together. Hop to safety in small steps to avoid electric shock by breaking the current’s path.