Farm life can be dangerous


Farming is a dangerous occupation.

Anyone who has seen me in the past three months has either noticed my pronounced limp or has seen my very attractive, hard-soled, open-toed, Velcro-fastened shoe. I tried to hide the injury from my wife for the first month, but the ever-observant nurse caught a glimpse of my barefoot one night and said, “What did you do?”

I didn’t know whether she was referring to the fact that the toe next to my big toe was three times its normal width or that the color had turned almost black, but my secret was out.

“Yeah, I think I broke it a couple of weeks ago.”

“Well, you need to go to the doctor tomorrow, or you’re going to lose the toe,” I called the first thing the next morning.

Even the doctor seemed shocked the next day as she examined my injury. Pressing around the injured area and hearing me mutter bad words, she was concerned that maybe my entire foot was broken, but the subsequent X-ray revealed that it was, in fact, just a broken toe. When she asked how it happened, I simply replied, “Farming is a dangerous occupation.”

Using that standard line when anyone asked, my friends at the coffee shop and feed store simply assumed I had been stepped on by a cow, fallen off the tractor, dropped a piece of equipment on my foot, or any of a thousand other ways that can break the bones of a farmer. There was no need to get graphic in the description of the accident.

This past January, it was a really cold night, and, as is often the case, I was having great difficulty falling asleep. Having been afflicted with insomnia for many years, I have discovered that a bowl or two (sometimes three) of vanilla ice cream will chase away the mental circus and allow me to get a restful sleep. It was around 2 a.m. when I decided that ice cream was my only option; thus, I made my way to the kitchen. I was extremely disappointed to discover that there was no sleep inducer in the freezer of the refrigerator. Still, I knew there was an unopened half-gallon in the big freezer located in the garage.

That night, it was around zero degrees, but I was desperate: just not desperate enough to put on clothing, shoes or my glasses. I rationalized that I could hurriedly rush down the three concrete steps into the garage and retrieve the container of ice cream without getting too cold.

However, once my feet touched the frigid concrete floor, I knew I had to cut my return time by half. 

Upon return, the concrete steps were closer than they appeared.

Farming is a dangerous occupation.

Jerry Crownover farms in Lawrence County. He is a former professor of Agriculture Education at Missouri State University, and is an author and professional speaker. Jerry’s daily exploits on the farm are now viewable on YouTube at “lifeissimple678”. To contact Jerry, go to and click on ‘Contact Us.’


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