Fall Issue 2010
Progressive Ag Safety Day
by Christy Hopkins
A hot dog sizzles on a mock power line, demonstrating the dangerous charge constantly running through the electrical grid. Nearby, children help pour grain into a device that demonstrates the explosive qualities of grain dust while outside, a specially marked yard stick points out how slow one’s reflexes can be in comparison to a lawnmower’s blade. Down the way, a cow grazes as its owner explains precautions that should be taken when spending time around large animals.
Meanwhile, fourth through sixth grade students from Greeley, Wallace, and Wichita counties listen eagerly, interacting and taking part in the Progressive Agriculture Farm Safety Day being hosted by Santa Fe Trail RC & D.
Even in Southwest Kansas, widely known for its agricultural production and interests, a growing number of youth live in towns and have limited interaction with agricultural life. A large percentage of children also live with their families on farms and in rural areas. These reasons, as well as a desire to connect area youth with the people and the livelihood providing food, fiber, fuel and pharmaceuticals to the nation, sparked Santa Fe Trail RC & D to partner with the Progressive Agriculture Foundation to host an annual farm safety day for students in Greeley, Wallace, and Wichita counties.
Now in the second year of the local event, organizers including project coordinator Malinda Lehman, are confident in the impact of the Progressive Ag Safety Day.
“Children often see farm and livestock operations as exciting playgrounds, providing endless hours of fun and adventure,” says Lehman. “We’re dedicated to ensuring that these facilities and the livestock and equipment on them do not set the stage for tragedy.”
This year’s event, was held Wednesday, September 29, at the 4-H Building in Tribune, hands-on demonstrations taught participants lifesaving first aid techniques and revealed the hidden hazards of farm surroundings. Demonstrations focused on farm hazards associated with lawnmower safety, animal safety, sun safety, fire and first aid safety, grain safety, farm equipment and PTO safety, electrical safety, and underground utilities safety.
These activities are led by trained professionals in their fields, who willingly volunteer their time to help impart safety tips and procedures with the children. Area businesses, including ADM Grain, Leoti; Colorado East Bank & Trust, Tribune; Dig Safe; Dixon Drug, Tribune; Greeley County Health Services, Tribune; Leoti Greentech, Inc., Leoti; Myers Implement, Tribune; Pierce Lumber Company, Tribune; Western State Bank, Leoti; Security State Bank, Scott City and Leoti; United Plains Ag, Tribune; Western Kansas Seed and Supply, and Wheatland Electric, Tribune, generously donate funds, equipment, and/or manpower to ensure the day’s success. Additional supporting organizations include area Conservation Districts, Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Greeley County Community Development, Greeley County Extension, Greeley County FFA, and Greeley County Recreation.
After a day of rotating through nine stations focused on farm safety, students are sent home with bags of goodies and additional information on farm safety.
Safety day sponsors hope that the children who attend the safety day will maintain their new safety attitudes and safe farm behaviors throughout their lives. Ultimately, they hope to see a reduction in the rate of deaths and injuries among children on the farm.
If you would like more information please contact Malinda Lehman, project coordinator, at (620) 376-8542. Santa Fe Trail Resource Conservation and Development is a 501(c)3 non-profit entity working to enhance the stability and quality of life through innovative agriculture, leadership, education, community and economic development, and wise management of resources for future generations. Santa Fe Trail RC & D serves ten counties in Southwest Kansas: Finney, Grant, Greeley, Hamilton, Kearny, Morton, Scott, Stanton, Stevens, and Wichita.