Minnesota Farmer

Scared safe

I spent the last two afternoons at the University of Minnesota’s Southwest Minnesota Experiment Station talking to area fourth graders about safety, especially farm safety.  It was an interesting, exhausting two days.  First off, fourth graders are very busy, and almost totally self centered.  If you want to get their attention, you have to be both persistent, and insistent.  You also need a message that will grab their attention.  Unluckily there have been enough bad things that have happened to me and to people I know so that I have learned to hold the attention of a fourth grader.  We did these presentations 8 times each day to a total of over 700 kids.

I had the help of Dave Van Loh on the first day, and Marilyn Nickel the second day.  As members of the Farm Bureau, we were presenting our deadly serious information to try to scare these kids safe.  Our stories of mishaps in flowing grain, and with animals, augers, tractors, atvs and combines helped to show some of the bad things that could happen.

We used props like toy tractors, wagons and a magnetic farm yard scene to explain how the accidents had happened, and why.  We talked about the injuries we had experienced and those we had seen others suffer.

We also had the use of a combine harvester to show how power moves from place to place on machinery and talk about the accidents that can happen if things do not go right.

The toughest presentation for me was the Power Take Off (PTO) demonstration which we did only once each day.  We placed newspaper in disposable coveralls and showed what happens if you get caught in a machine.  Since I had lost a friend last winter to a PTO accident this one hit home hard.  It was my hope to scare some of those kids safe.  If we can prevent one farm accident the whole effort was worth it.



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Thank you for taking the time to teach these kids about farm safety. My father-in-law lost his hand in a farm field accident decades ago. Fortunately his then-young son, my husband, was working in the field with him that day, was able to shut off the tractor and run for help. He saved his father’s life.

Comment by Minnesota Prairie Roots

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