ALL TERRAIN VEHICLES (ATV) have become the modern beasts of burden on many farms and ranches throughout the United States.

The U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission provides good information for operators using this handy form of transportation around the farmstead.

• Get trained on how to drive your ATV.

• Wear a helmet.

• Don't allow children on adult ATVs.

• Don't ride tandem; remember one seat, one rider.

• Don't ride on the pavement and particularly, don't ride under the influence.

Some sobering facts show 357 people were killed riding ATVs and another 113,900 were injured in 2002 while riding ATVs.

The numbers increase each year. An estimated 150,900 emergency room treated injuries, acquired while riding ATVs occurred in 2007.

ATV use is not regulated by the National Highway Safety Administration and many states do not require an age limit, license or training to operate an ATV. You are responsible for your own safety and that of your family. It is not always easy or popular to be safe, but it is far better than becoming a part of the statistics listed here.

TALKIN' COTTON is produced by NTOK Cotton, a cotton industry partnership which supports and encourages increased cotton acreage in the Rolling Plains of North Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. For more information on the cotton scene, see ntokcotton.org and okiecotton.org. For comments or questions about Talkin' Cotton, contact eventerprise1@hughes.net.