Here’s how many farm deaths occurred in PA in 2020 and 2021

A silo on Lower Brush Valley Road where an agricultural accident occurred on September 21, 2022. Here are the number of agricultural fatalities reported in recent years in the state.

A silo on Lower Brush Valley Road where an agricultural accident occurred on September 21, 2022. Here are the number of agricultural fatalities reported in recent years in the state.

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There has been a 59% decrease in known farm and farm fatalities from 2020 to 2021 in the Keystone State, according to the 2021 Pennsylvania Farm Fatal Injury Summary.

The Extension Ag Safety & Health program at Penn State University publishes the summary annually.

According to the summary, 39 fatalities were reported in 2020 and 16 were recorded in 2021. Of the 16 fatalities last year, six involved a farm tractor and one involved a forklift. Other causes of fatal injuries included a motorbike collision, a fall from a horse-drawn carriage, electrocution and falling tree branches.

A 65-year-old man died of asphyxiation from silo gases in 2021, according to the report.

The 2021 summary is the latest available, although at least four farm deaths have been reported in the state this year, including the latest fatalities, which occurred Wednesday morning at a Penns Valley farm.

A 47-year-old father, Andrew Beiler, and his two sons, ages 19 and 14, died of asphyxiation due to gas from a silo at an Amish farm in Potter Township, officials have confirmed. Their deaths were ruled accidental.

The 16 people whose farm deaths were reported in 2021 were men and three were Anabaptists. Three of the victims were 4 years old or younger and five were 65 years old or older. Here is the age breakdown of the 2021 victims:

  • Three victims aged 0 to 4 years

  • A victim between the ages of 10 and 19

  • A victim between the ages of 20 and 24

  • A victim aged 25 to 34

  • Two victims aged 35 to 44

  • Two victims aged 45 to 54

  • A victim aged 55 to 64

  • Five victims aged 65 and over

“The Anabaptist community continues to suffer from relatively high death rates,” says Penn State’s 2020 report.

All victims under age 5 were Anabaptists in 2021, and four of the 39 deaths in 2020 were Anabaptists. The religious sect of 22 of the 2020 victims has not been identified.

The Penn State report noted that “the data we rely on is imperfect and some cases may have been missed by the Commonwealth death certificate system.” The summary cited agriculture-related death certificates from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, media reports of agriculture-related deaths, and Aginjurynews.org.

This story can be updated.

Meredith Howard is a duty reporter at the Belleville News-Democrat. She graduated from Baylor University and previously freelanced for the Illinois Times and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

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