Safety and other work policies

Report safety issues
Don't keep an illness or injury that you have in the field to yourself. Report it as soon as possible to your crew coach.

Problems with safety or your crew mates?

1. Talk with your crew coach. If he or she is part of the problem or is unable to satisfy your concerns, then

2. Contact the Varsity office at 402-641-3692 and leave a message for Larry Oetting so that he can return your call.

Pioneer is a worker-safety leader in the seed-industry
We work in their fields and they do a great job of helping us make sure everyone is safe. Please review the documents they share regarding detasseling and other work in seed fields:

Download Pioneer's What to Expect information

What to wear and bring

1. Feet first: Old gym shoes and long socks are recommended. (High-top shoes are recommended for a bit more ankle support.) Whatever shoes you wear should be broken in and easy on your feet. Always wear socks to avoid blisters.

2. Cover those legs: A) Long pants or B) shorts and long socks are required.

3. Hands and head: Gloves, caps with nets and safety glasses are mandatory -- these are also provided to all roguers and detasselers.

4. Long sleeves and sun protection: Sunburn and scratches from corn leaves are the main nuisances of detasseling. Long sleeves and sunscreen can save you a lot of agony.

5. Keeping hydrated: Bring plenty, a gallon jug is highly recommended. Some detasselers freeze drinking water in plastic milk jugs and let them thaw out while in the fields.

Mark your water jug with your name! Your jug may be used to mark which row you are in, so it's important that everyone can tell it's yours.

Don't skimp on bringing water. A can of pop or two is no substitute and is not recommended.

6. Pack a lunch: Bring a lunch and a few things to eat on a morning or afternoon break.

7. Keeping warm and dry: It's summer, yes, but most mornings are a little chilly. Even if it hasn't rained, the corn may be wet because of dew. Dew on the corn will drench you in minutes. It's good to bring a jacket or poncho and a sweatshirt. Many people bring large plastic garbage bags to wear as home-made ponchos. You won't win any fashion awards, but you'll stay drier.

Pesticide safety:
When seed companies apply pesticides they also follow specific procedures for the safety of their employees and all detasselers regarding these chemicals.

Companies place warning markers on sprayed fields and these fields will not be entered by Varsity crews until cleared by the seed company.

Posted safety information:
Written safety policies are also posted at Pioneer offices, on Varsity buses or at field lavatories, and copies can be requested by phone or mail.

Absences and such

Detasselers are expected to work every day requested and must notify their crew coach of an upcoming absence. Among other things, crew coaches also take reliability of crew members into account if they must decide who will work as the season continues. Full credit for rows is given to those who work then entire season--it pays to show up.

Only extreme weather will prevent a crew from leaving its regular pick-up site on time. An early morning storm at the pick-up site does not mean it will be storming in the field. If the mailman can deliver, we can detassel.

Expected absences should be cleared prior to the season, not during.

General rules

Get your employment paperwork turned in order to be hired. The paperwork you need is determined by whether you worked for Varsity last year. Our page regarding paperwork explains how to follow through:

Visit the Forms for Employment page

Report in-field emergencies immediately to your crew coach. Report work-related injuries. Varsity staff will take necessary action and follow up with any necessary written report. Injuries resulting from your work activity are covered by worker's compensation insurance.

Varsity will not assume responsibility for workers using non-company transportation or responsibilty for any worker who leaves the work site before his or her crew's work day is complete.

Varsity is committed to providing the best possible service for seed companies and farmers. Cooperate with seed company representatives and always keep in mind that you are on someone else's property--show your respect by keeping "hands off" any farm equipment and by picking up your trash.

Sexual harassment, doing anything illegal, causing harm to a person or property, using foul language, or other reasons considered sufficient by Varsity are grounds for dismissal or other punitive action.

Varsity crew members are people who want to work and get along with their supervisors and fellow crew members. If anyone is falling short of that, let your crew coach know so that it can be dealt with immediately.