For those of us working in agriculture, we hear it repeated over and over again: Farming is one of the most dangerous occupations in the nation.

Unfortunately, the statistics back this up. Ag-related fatalities account for 33 percent of occupational fatalities in Iowa, even though only 10 percent of Iowans work in agriculture, said Stephanie Leonard, director of the Iowa Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program at the University of Iowa.

Yet farm safety experts at a recent media workshop in Cedar Rapids stressed that farm accidents are rarely "accidents." Most farm injuries and fatalities are preventable, they said.

"I’ve never investigated a ‘freak accident.’ There’s no such thing as a freak accident," added Clark Mellick, Allamakee County sheriff, who said he’s been a first responder for far too many farm fatalities in his rural county.

Last month, Iowa FACE and Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-CASH), also based at the...