Application Period Opens for 2021 Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® Program

Communities interested in hosting a Safety Day are encouraged to apply by July 15, 2020.

The Progressive Agriculture Foundation® has opened the application period for the 2021 Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® program. Applications are available to individuals and organizations interested in conducting a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day for their community during the 2021 calendar year.

19-855_LawnEquipSafety_11795For the past 26 years, the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day program has provided education, training and resources to make farm, ranch and rural life safer and healthier for children and their communities. With the support of dedicated volunteers and generous partners, the program has reached more than 1.8 million children and adults to date, helping Progressive Agriculture Safety Days become recognized as the largest rural safety and health education program for children in North America.

“Over the past few months, we have successfully been navigating through limitations with allowing in-person events stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Brian Kuhl, president and chief executive officer of the Progressive Agriculture Foundation. “We have provided a vast amount of resources online through our Daily Learning Drop series and virtual Progressive Agriculture Safety Day events. The excitement surrounding our 2021 Safety Day season has given us something to look forward to during these challenging times.”

Last year alone, more than 500 community leaders were trained to coordinate one-day, age-appropriate, hands-on events for children ages 4 to 13 on topics affecting the safety of rural communities. The 2021 Progressive Agriculture Safety Day season will offer an even broader selection of new and emerging safety topics, such as stress management and mental well-being and the dangers of vaping.

Applications for the 2021 Progressive Agriculture Safety Day program are being accepted now through July 15, 2020. In an effort to keep the safety and health of volunteer coordinators a top priority due to uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the Progressive Agriculture Foundation has moved all in-person trainings for coordinators online. Virtual trainings for the 2021 season will be offered starting this fall and will continue throughout the winter.

In addition to training and year-round staff support, the Progressive Agriculture Foundation provides t-shirts, take-home bags and insurance coverage for all participants and volunteers, along with peer-reviewed safety and health curriculum featuring hundreds of hands-on activities and demonstrations.

For safety resources or details about coordinating, volunteering or attending a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day, call 888-257-3529 or visit progressiveag.org.

Looking to make a safe investment? Help send a child to a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day event by texting the word “SAFETYDAY” to 44321 or visiting progressiveag.org/donate.

Photo: At Progressive Agriculture Safety Days, community volunteers engage with local youth through age-appropriate, hands-on learning in a fun and safe manner.

Always Wear the Safety Gear: Learn the Golden Rules for ATVs and UTVs

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

Parents are always looking for outdoor, recreational, and fun opportunities for their children that are enjoyable, hands-on, and above all safe. With nice weather now upon us, your child may be anxious to ride their ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle) or UTV (Utility Task Vehicle). In addition to being fun, an ATV can teach children responsibility while helping with farm or ranch chores. However, you may be wondering what gear they should wear when they hit the trail? Unsure if the ATV or UTV is both age and size appropriate? Does your child know how to operate the ATV and maneuver up and down hills correctly? Being able to answer these questions before they turn the key and start the engine is an important component in your child’s safety and well-being while riding.

According to the 2020 Fact Sheet from the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety (NCCRAHS), transportation incidents (including tractors, ATVs, and UTVs) are among the most fatal for youth in agriculture. What is the most heartbreaking of all, with these statistics, is the fact that many of these incidents could have been prevented. Many incidents are due to driver or operator error and likely caused from a change in the center of gravity. This can occur when you add additional weight to an ATV in the form of an extra rider, a sprayer tank, hay bales, or even a deer carcass during hunting season.

16-130_ATVSafety_688In 2019, ATV safety reached more than 46,000 youth participants and was one of the top lessons taught at Progressive Agriculture Safety Days. Now, thanks to a collaboration with our 4-star partners at Polaris, additional ATV and UTV resources will assist us in teaching this important topic to even more youth at our Progressive Agriculture Safety Days, various farm shows, and other events.

June 5-14, 2020 is ATV Safety Week. So, what are the most important tips to keep in mind when riding an ATV or UTV? Here are the ATV Safety Institute’s 8 Golden Rules:

  1. Always wear a Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots, and gloves. Selection of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) plays a crucial role in your safety from your head to your toes. The safer you will be when you select the appropriate PPE!
  2. Never ride on paved roads except to cross when done safely and permitted by law, as another vehicle could hit you. ATVs are designed to be operated off-highway.
  3. Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Also, never allow others who appear to be under the influence to operate an ATV or UTV.
  4. Never carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV, and no more than one passenger on an ATV specifically designed for two people. Most ATVs are designed for one rider at a time, so you can be rider active and move with the vehicle. When going down an incline (shift to the back), when going up an incline (shift to the front) or when turning (shift left or right).
  5. Ride an ATV that is right for your age and also size appropriate. Although all youth vehicles are designed for children to travel at slower speeds, every child differs in his or her physical and developmental abilities, which needs to be considered when handling an ATV.
  6. Supervise riders younger than 16. Always remind younger riders that ATVs are not toys.
  7. Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed.
  8. Become safety savvy by taking a hands-on ATV RiderCourse and the free online E-Course. Visit ATVsafety.org or call 800-887-2887 to learn more.

Since 1995, the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day program has also been on a mission to provide the education, training, and resources to make farm, ranch and rural life safer and healthier for children and their communities. For more information on Progressive Agriculture Safety Days or to locate an event near you, visit www.progressiveag.org or call 888-257-3529 (please note, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many events planned for the spring and summer have postponed or cancelled for 2020). Looking to make a safe investment? Help send another child to a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day by texting the word “SAFETYDAY” to 44321 or visit progressiveag.org/Donate.

Photo 1: At a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day held in Ord, Nebraska, participants get a chance to get an up-close look at an all-terrain vehicle and learn the importance of ATV safety.

 

Daily Learning Drop Series

On March 18, the Progressive Agriculture Safety Days program launched Daily Learning Drops. Each day, a new video (or resource) on a different safety and health topic was delivered via Facebook at noon EDT/11:00 a.m. CDT. In case you missed it, here are the topics with links to all the individual drops and the playlists:

To access the Facebook Playlist: https://bit.ly/2VfGouq

To access the YouTube Playlist: https://bit.ly/2XsqIa4

STOP THE BLEED: When Seconds Count to Save a Life!

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

An incident can happen in the blink of an eye. In many rural and farming communities, often the person next to a bleeding victim is deemed the one most likely to save their life. Minutes count, as someone who is severely injured and bleeding, can ble19-1734_FirstAid_11874ed to death in as little as 5 minutes.

To help bring awareness to this important initiative, the month of May is recognized as National STOP THE BLEED® Month? This observance highlights the importance of STOP THE BLEED® training and offers the public training courses in bleeding control techniques. That is why bleeding control and keeping the blood inside the body is so crucial! If an incident occurs, would you know what to do? If not, here are necessary actions to stop bleeding:

  1. Apply pressure with hands and a clean cloth, tissue or piece of gauze.
  2. Apply dressing and press. If the wound is on the arm or leg, raise limb above the heart, if possible, to help slow bleeding.
  3. Apply a tourniquet for severe or life-threatening bleeding that does not stop with direct pressure.
  4. Remember to always wash your hands and use gloves before and after administering first aid.
  5. According to Healthline, seek immediate medical care if the wound is jagged, deep, or a puncture wound; is on the face; is the result of an animal bite; there is dirt that won’t come out after washing; or the bleeding will not stop after 15 to 20 minutes of first aid.
  6. Preparation is key! Try to always have access to a first aid kit. Have a kit stored in the home, car, tractor, ATV or UTV, and barn. Also continually check and restock supplies as needed.

In 2019 alone, First Aid Safety reached nearly 42,000 participants at Progressive Agriculture Safety Days, while an additional 22,000 participants took part in First on the Scene hands-on activities and demonstrations. These activities are aimed at cultivating vital life-saving skills and techniques.  Progressive Agriculture Safety Days is recognized as the largest rural safety and health education program for children in North America by providing the education, training and resources to aid local communities in conducting a one-day event. Designed to be hands-on, fun and safe for children ages 4 to 13, more than 1.8 million children and adults living on farms, ranches and rural communities have been impacted since 1995.

For more information on Progressive Agriculture Safety Days or to locate an event near you, visit www.progressiveag.org or call 888-257-3529 (please note, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many events planned for the spring and summer have postponed or cancelled for 2020). You can also help send another child to a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day in 2020 with a modest donation of only $13. Donate by texting the word “SAFETYDAY” to 44321.

Photo: At events, like this Progressive Agriculture Safety Day in Nebraska, participants learn about first aid and how the use of a tourniquet can stop bleeding and save a life.

 

Volunteering: Good for the Mind, Body and Soul

It’s hard to imagine a world without volunteers. Whether helping a friend, partaking in a litter clean-up, or hosting an event to raise money for a special need or cause, volunteers truly make the world go-round. People who volunteer, do not necessarily always have the time, but they have the heart and make time to support causes near and dear to them.

Wisconsin Jenny Konen Pic 22020 National Volunteer Week, taking place April 19-25, is an opportunity to celebrate the impact of volunteer service and the power of volunteers to tackle society’s greatest challenges, to build stronger communities and be a force that transforms the world. According to HealthGuide, volunteering connects you to others, is good for your mind and body, can advance your career, and brings fun and fulfillment to your life. Did you know that volunteering provides many benefits to both mental and physical health?  Volunteering can:

  • Help counteract the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety through the social contact aspect of helping and working with others can have a profound effect on your overall psychological well-being. Nothing relieves stress better than a meaningful connection to another person.
  • Combat depression, as it keeps you in regular contact with others and helps you develop a solid support system.
  • Make you happy. By measuring hormones and brain activity, researchers have discovered that being helpful to others delivers immense pleasure. Human beings are hard-wired to give to others. The more we give, the happier we feel.
  • Increase self-confidence. While doing good for others and the community, we feel a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity. The better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals.
  • Provide a sense of purpose. Older adults, especially those who have retired or lost a spouse, can find new meaning and direction in their lives by helping others. Whatever your age or life situation, volunteering can help take your mind off your own worries, keep you mentally stimulated, and add more zest to your life.
  • Helps you stay physically healthy. Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not. Older volunteers tend to walk more, find it easier to cope with everyday tasks, are less likely to develop high blood pressure, and have better thinking skills. Volunteering can also lessen symptoms of chronic pain and reduce the risk of heart disease.

67394006_617129472114007_4905255459834822656_oIn 2019 alone, close to 500 adults were trained to serve as Progressive Agriculture Safety Day coordinators who are leading the crusade. Safety Day coordinators help bring this program to the local level building safer and healthier communities in the places they live, work and play. With the support of another 20,000 local volunteers serving in various roles including planning committee members, presenters, group leaders, and other on-site logistics, our program provided age-appropriate, hands-on safety education to nearly 80,000 youth participants, between the ages of 4 and 13.

Last year, more than 121,000 hours of volunteer time was logged. This was valued at more than $3 million in support, according to the Independent Sector’s estimated value of $25.32 per hour; however, to our program, a volunteer’s time is priceless! Additionally, many of our key sponsors are promoting partnership engagement opportunities among their employees and encouraging them to volunteer.

Children tend to watch everything we do. Therefore, in the same manner we remind adults about role modeling safe and healthy behaviors, volunteering shows children the importance of giving back to the community. They see first-hand how volunteering can make a difference, how good it feels to help other people and animals, and how they can bring about positive change. Volunteering is also a valuable way to get to know organizations in the community, as well as find resources and activities that can be beneficial to your children and family.

For more information on how get involved in hosting or volunteering at Progressive Agriculture Safety Days or to locate an event near you, visit www.progressiveag.org or call 888-257-3529. You can also help send another child to a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day in 2020 with a modest donation of only $13. Donate by texting the word “SAFETYDAY” to 44321.

Photo: The dedicated support of our volunteers helped Progressive Agriculture Safety Days remain recognized as the largest rural safety and health education program for children in North America. Volunteers at Wisconsin and Ontario events last year helped celebrate the program’s 25-year milestone.

Children act fast, and sadly so do poisons!

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

12-1005_ChemLookALike_1325Sadly, every day in the United States, more than 300 children (ages 0 to 19) are treated in an emergency department, and two children die, as a result of being poisoned, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s not just chemicals in your home marked with clear warning labels that can be dangerous to children. Everyday items in your home, such as household cleaners and medicines, can be poisonous to children as well. Medication dosing mistakes and unsupervised ingestions are common ways that children are poisoned.

Active, curious 16-1623_ChemLookALike_6082children will often investigate and sometimes try to eat or drink anything that they can easily get into. National Poison Prevention Week, taking place March 15-21, 2020, reminds us that some of the deadliest and most dangerous items in our homes or on our farms are hiding in plain sight. Take a peek under your kitchen sink, laundry room or medicine cabinet. Household cleaning agents, prescription medications, pesticides, and other items can pose serious hazards to the health and well-being of our families and even our pets.

At Progressive Agriculture Safety Days®, chemical safety continues to be one of the most popular topics offered reaching more than 40,000 youth participants in 2019. One of the hands-on activities offered at Progressive Agriculture Safety Days is for participants to identify and distinguish look-a-like poisons from other safe items.

16-1596_ChemLookALike_1750For young children that cannot read labels, many products around the home can look like popular candy or drinks. Even products that can be good for you, like vitamins and medicines, can become harmful if you do not follow the label directions. Common poison look-a-likes you may find around your home may include gummy vitamins that look like fruit snacks or gummy bears; laxatives resembling chocolate; household cleaners, liquid medications or mouthwash that may look like sports drinks or juice; and bleach or rubbing alcohol that resembles water. In recent years, we witnessed the dangers of laundry or dishwasher pods that look like candy. Also, with the legalization of marijuana in many states for recreational or medical use, the danger of edibles in baked goods, candy and beverages are a new concern. Despite their ordinary appearance, a single pot cookie or candy bar can contain several times the recommended adult dose of THC. Anyone who eats one of these edibles, especially a child, can experience overdose effects such as intoxication, altered perception, anxiety, panic, paranoia, dizziness, weakness, slurred speech, poor coordination, apnea, and heart problems according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Living with chemicals is a reality, but the National Safety Council encourages making informed decisions about the type of products you bring into your home. Understanding risk and limiting exposure are paramount to keeping your family safe. Before you buy, read the label to make sure you know exactly what you’re purchasing and understand terms and definitions found on product labels. Caution indicates the lowest level of potential harm, Warning indicates a higher level of potential harm meaning you could become seriously ill or injured, and Danger indicates the highest level of potential harm: tissue damage to skin, blindness, death or damage to the mouth, throat or stomach if swallowed. As parents, grandparents and caring adults, it is our responsibility to keep our children safe. Let’s be proactive by following these five safety tips:

  1. Label harmful products and place them out of the reach of children.
  2. Periodically clean out storage cabinets and carefully following disposal instructions indicated on product labels.
  3. Avoid moving poisons or chemicals from their original container.
  4. Lead by example and use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when handling chemicals.
  5. Add the Poison Control Center telephone number (1-800-222-1222) to your telephone contact list in your cell phone, as well as a place easy to locate in case of an emergency.

For more information on Progressive Agriculture Safety Days or to locate an event near you, visit www.progressiveag.org or call 888-257-3529. Help send another child to a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day in 2020 with a modest donation of only $13. Donate by texting the word “SAFETYDAY” to 44321.

Photos: In 2019, Chemical Safety was ranked as one of the top five lessons offered at Progressive Agriculture Safety Days. One of the most popular hands-on activities offered is on look-a-like poisons, where participants try to distinguish the difference between safe and unsafe items like medication and candy or sports drinks and household cleaners.

 

Staying Safe Around Grain: Let’s Send the Right Message to Youth

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

In 2014 alone, more than 23.8 million youth visited farms across the United States. During these visits while fostering a child’s passion for agriculture and curiosity for farm practices, large equipment and animals, it is vital to keep safety at the forefront. Farms are busy workplaces. Therefore, children should be educated that the farm is not a play area and they should treat the farm with the same respect and care as any other workplace.

As with many practices on the farm, producing grain can be dangerous. According to Purdue University, there were 61 documented grain bin entrapments and incidents in other confined spaces on U.S. farms in 2018. Historically, nearly one in five of all agricultural incidents in confined spaces has involved children and young adults, under the age of 21, according to the report. To shed light on this important topic, Grain Bin Safety Week is commemorated each year during the third full week of February.

19-1935_GrainSafety_11919Progressive Agriculture Safety Days, recognized as the largest rural safety and health education program for children in North America, wholeheartedly supports this endeavor and is taking it a step further to educate our future generation of farmers – our children. Educating youth of the potential dangers, characteristics and scenarios associated with grain bin management is an important step to reducing incidents and losses. In 2019, nearly 35,000 youth participants and adult volunteers were reached with grain safety lessons offered at one of our Progressive Agriculture Safety Days.

It’s downright scary the similarities grain has to quicksand. In a matter of seconds, one can become entrapped in grain and in less than a minute become fully submerged. Curiosity, size, strength and lack of experience are a major cause of injuries and fatalities for young children. Through hands-on activities and demonstrations, we strongly emphasize the following to youth participants at Progressive Agriculture Safety Days:

It’s downright scary the similarities grain has to quicksand. In a matter of seconds, one can become entrapped in grain and in less than a minute become fully submerged. Curiosity, size, strength and lack of experience are a major cause of injuries and fatalities for young children. Through hands-on activities and demonstrations, we strongly emphasize the following to youth participants at Progressive Agriculture Safety Days:

  1. Always stay out of flowing grain.
  2. Never walk or play in or around stored grain.
  3. Never enter a grain bin, wagon, or truck.
  4. Stay away from a grain bin while the unloading auger or vacuum/suction tube is operating.
  5. What to do in case of an emergency involving grain, including:
  • Turn off any equipment that is causing the grain to flow or move. This will stop the person from being pulled further underneath the grain.
  • Always assume the victim is alive and take the necessary measures to help the situation. This may include turning on aeriation fans and assuring dryer heat is turned off.
  • Call for help immediately. Never attempt to pull someone out of grain on your own.

Corn Box Pic 2Agritourism continues to become extremely popular in the U.S. While Agritourism gives producers the opportunity to generate additional income and an avenue for direct marketing to consumers, it also provides educational learning opportunities for all ages. The opportunities are endless with Christmas tree and holiday festivals in the winter months, u-picks and farmer’s markets in the spring and summer, and pumpkin patches in the fall. While educating youth, we need to always ensure we are sending the correct messages. Avoid confusing children by sending mixed messages when replacing sand boxes with corn at places like pumpkin patches, local parks and farm shows. A young child will have trouble understanding and identifying the difference between grain in a corn box and grain in a gravity flow wagon. In addition to sending the wrong message, other hazards around include chocking, allergies, crowding, and as a food source can attract animals and pests, which can cause illness due to germs from feces. The National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety have several resources on Integrating Safety into Agritourism, which can be located at https://safeagritourism.org/

Learn more about 2020 Grain Bin Safety Week, taking place February 16-22, by visiting https://www.nationwide.com/grain-bin-safety-week.jsp. For more information or to locate a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day near you, visit www.progressiveag.org or call 888-257-3529. We welcome individual support to help send another child to a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day in their local community with a modest donation of only $13. Donate by texting the word “SAFETYDAY” to 44321.

Photo 1: At a 2019 Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® held in Brookings, South Dakota, participants learn important lessons on how to stay safe around grain through a variety of hands-on activities.

Photo 2: Although it may be fun and an easier to manage, replacing sand boxes with corn can send the wrong messages to our youth and mask the significant dangers in playing in grain. Role modeling safe behavior is key and responsibility of all of us.

Building A Mental Health Toolkit: Identifying vital resources to support the mental well-being of families and children living in agricultural communities

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

The start of a new year and a new decade can symbolize a fresh start or new beginnings. However, for many the new year can generate feelings of failure due to missed opportunities or goals not previously met. Additionally, the holiday cheer and socializing amplified in November and December often comes to a screeching halt at the beginning of the year and tends to bring about feelings of sadness, emptiness and depression.

This past year was an especially difficult one for our farmers. Mother Nature provided a vast amount of issues to extend the harvest season. Weather issues combined with financial burdens and the economy added to farmers’ stress levels. This stress combined with long workdays can take a toll on mental health.

SA1_3114 updatedWe would be naïve to believe that adults are the only ones feeling stress. Farm families, including children, are not immune to feeling stress. Therefore, after a primary focus on farm safety for the past 25 years, Progressive Agriculture Safety Days is turning their attention to the overall health of children living in rural and agricultural communities. Farm Credit supported this effort through sponsoring a youth-focused mental health and rural stress roundtable held last fall. The roundtable helped identify the basic content and laid the framework for the creation of a youth mental well-being and stress management chapter. The new chapter will focus on hands-on activities tailored to help children understand stress and their emotions, learn positive coping strategies to deal with stressors, and provide resources to go home to the families to encourage open conversations and to break the stigma surrounding mental health.

“Farm Credit’s mission is to support rural communities and agriculture. At the core are people: our farmers and their families. They form the backbone of our country,” according to Mark Hayes, Vice President External Communications with the Farm Credit Council. “We’re excited to partner with the Progressive Agriculture Foundation to focus on the mental well-being of children all across Rural America. Through engaging exercises and hands-on activities offered at Progressive Agriculture Safety Days, they will bring these ideas home and help teach their family coping strategies and initiate important discussions.”

Lunch Volunteers 16-813As we kick-off 2020, let’s strive for a year that is not only successful, but less stressful for our families living in agricultural communities. Let’s vow to strengthen our mental well-being and stress management by building a mental health toolkit with some New Year’s resolutions worth keeping:

  • Adopt better sleep habits – Prepare yourself for a restful night’s sleep by securing a comfortable environment by turning off electronics, lights and other distractions that may stimulate the brain.
  • Begin an exercise regimen – Start with small changes by opting for the stairs over the elevator and take stretch breaks during the workday.
  • Find a hobby – Don’t be afraid to try something new or go back to doing something you enjoy.
  • Take a social media break – Put down the smartphone or turn off the computer.
  • Utilize stress management techniques – Try yoga or meditation, to get you to a relaxed state.
  • Get organized – Use a planner and set goals for yourself. You will feel a great sense of accomplishment crossing things off your list!
  • Keep a journal – Instead of dwelling over negative thoughts, put them down on paper and then you can “close the book on them” and enjoy your day.
  • Volunteer – Not only does it feel good to help a friend or give back to your community, but volunteering is a great way to connect and cultivate relationships.
  • Strengthen your communication skills – Reach out and talk to someone, as well as be a good listener.
  • Treat yourself, as well as others, with respect – Remember, we are all human, we make mistakes, and we miss goals, but maintaining a positive outlook is key.

Progressive Agriculture Safety Days is recognized as the largest rural safety and health education program for children in North America. For more information or to locate a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day near you, visit www.progressiveag.org or call 888-257-3529. Help send another child to a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day in 2020 with a modest donation of only $13. Donate by texting the word “SAFETYDAY” to 44321.

Photo 1 Caption: A Youth-Focused Mental Health and Stress Roundtable sponsored by Farm Credit took place on September 27, 2019 at AgriBank in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Photo 2 Caption: Volunteering offers vital help to people in need, worthwhile causes, and the community, but the benefits can be even greater for you, the volunteer. At Progressive Agriculture Safety Days, volunteers are truly the heart of our program. Volunteers fill the roles of Safety Day coordinators, planning committee members, group leaders, presenters, and various on-site logistics.

Get into the Safety Spirit this Holiday Season

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

While fall harvest is recognized as one of the busiest times of year on the farm, the holiday season ranks right up there as another hectic time for most families. The month of December always seems to go by in the blink of an eye. Many look forward to the holiday season all-year long, but between the shopping, decorating, cooking and baking, entertaining, cleaning, traveling, and the holiday gathering and parties, stress levels can be at an all-time high. Often, these are the times we tend to lose sight of our safety focus.

The kitchen serves as a very special gathering place for holiday traditions and memories while cooking or baking; however, the accessibility of knives and other sharp utensils, along with hot surfaces on the stovetop or oven, can prove to be hazardous if distracted. Talk with your children about some of the dangers in the kitchen and how they can prevent an incident from occurring or what to do if one occurs. Along with cooking and baking, the kitchen can also be a prime location where a fire can start, so ensure you have a working smoke detector and fire extinguisher nearby.

When decorating, be sure to practice safe lifting and safe use of the ladder. While decorating outside, watch for slippery surfaces or tripping hazards. Don’t spend your holidays in the hospital bed or laid up on the couch. Check for any frayed or pinched wires on warn decorations, keep flammable items at least 3 feet from open flames and heating sources, and avoid stringing together extension cords or running under rugs, carpets or furniture.

16-574_FirstAid_3777Holiday travel can also lead to high stress levels. Whether traveling a short or long distance, Mother Nature can be unpredictable this time of year and throw a wrench in our plans. Therefore, always give yourself plenty of time to arrive safely. Avoid making up for running late by speeding or taking shortcuts around roadway safety. It is more important that you arrive alive, than on-time. Always be prepared for unexpected issues that may occur when traveling. Get your car serviced regularly, ensure your tires are in good condition, have an ample supply of gas, and purchase an emergency kit (containing things like first aid items, supply of food and water, flashlights, blanket, etc.) in your car. You can give the gift of safety by purchasing one of these kits for a loved one. Always make it a habit to drive responsibly. If you feel impaired (or notice someone else is impaired), never get behind the wheel and give the keys to a sober driver.

Lastly, take care of yourself! You are taking care of so many others, don’t feel guilty about treating yourself. This may include selecting a little something for yourself while shopping, taking a relaxing bubble bath, or curling up on the couch to your favorite holiday movie. Also, avoid the slump that seems to happen following the New Year. Typically, all the holiday cheer and socializing that is amplified in November and December comes to a screeching halt at the beginning of the year. Move or plan a party in mid-January, this may be a welcomed change by friends or family. Otherwise, plan a mini-vacation or something to look forward to as the excitement of the holiday season fades.

These holiday safety tips are brought to you by Progressive Agriculture Safety Days, recognized as the largest rural safety and health education program for children in North America. For more information or to locate a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day near you, visit www.progressiveag.org or call us toll-free at 888-257-3529. You can help send another child to a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day in 2020 with a modest donation of only $13. Donate by texting the word “SAFETYDAY” to 44321.

Photo: At many Progressive Agriculture Safety Days, participants learn how to assemble various types of first aid kits for use in the car, in the home or on the farm. As the first aid kits are assembled, participants identify the purpose of each item added to the kit and how it can be used in the event of an emergency.

From Tragedy to Triumph: The Real-Life Story of Jacob and the Tractor

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

When we think about distracted driving, we often visualize distractions while on the roadway, such as texting or adjusting vehicle controls. However, while helping his father on a hot, July day in 2010, 10-year old Jacob Ross and his family, quickly learned that distracted driving can occur just as easily on farm equipment. In a matter of seconds, Jacob’s life changed dramatically, and his mother received a phone call that no parent should experience, as she learned Jacob was involved in a serious farming incident.

Jacob & JacksonDuring a visit with his father, Jacob, along with his 8-year old brother, Jackson, was helping with various farm-related tasks. Early-mornings turned into late-nights while farming thousands of acres of farmland in Louisiana and Arkansas. The day started out normal, until the tractor that Jacob was riding in with his father had mechanical issues. At that point, Jacob was told to join his brother, who was riding with another employee on the other side of the field. During the walk, Jacob reached out to his mother at work. Upon approaching and climbing into the tractor, which was pulling a blade, Jacob’s cell phone slipped out of the pocket of his cargo shorts and landed just in front of the tractor’s back tire. Although Jacob made eye contact with his brother before climbing down to retrieve it, he neglected to do so with the man driving the tractor, who was distracted talking on his cell phone and didn’t see him. The driver assumed Jacob had stepped back when he didn’t see him and as he put the tractor into gear, ran over Jacob. Jackson quickly screamed and slapped the windows to get the driver’s attention, helping avoid any further damage.

Jacob in hospital bedThe blade sliced Jacob’s arm so badly that there were only a few inches still attached to his body. Although the arm injury was horrible, it wasn’t the worst of it. Jacob’s diaphragm and lung were punctured, and his organs had been pushed up into his chest cavity. He had a crushed pelvis and broken vertebrae. He needed to be air-lifted to a hospital in Little Rock and upon arrival, Jacob was immediately put in surgery, having additional surgeries in the days that followed. Jacob, who was practically unrecognizable with all the swelling, was put in a drug-induced coma and was on a ventilator in the pediatric intensive care unit for a week. Jacob spent three weeks in the hospital but still required constant care when he came home. He was in a wheelchair for a period of time and had to learn how to do everything again with intense physical therapy. The emotional trauma also took a toll on his mother and his little brother, Jackson, who required therapy to help cope with what he witnessed the day of the incident and the weeks that past.

Fast-forward nine years later and Jacob is now 19 and living his life as a full-time, fifth-generation farmer. Despite his scars, Jacob is very lucky to have survived such a horrific incident.

Bernard & Amanda CorleyThe sad reality is there are many stories like Jacob’s; however, many do not have such a happy or positive ending. According to the National Children’s Center for Rural Agricultural Health and Safety (NCCRAHS) about every three days, a child dies due to an ag-related incident and every day nearly 33 children are injured due to an ag-related incident. After Jacob’s injury, his mother, Amanda Corley, knew she needed to share his story in hopes of saving other families from the same or a worse fate. For several years, she has spoken at local Progressive Agriculture Safety Days, talking to children about the importance of making eye contact with equipment operators and offering other tips for staying safe on the farm. She also speaks to volunteers and sponsors at Safety Day training. Corley also shared her story in the book, Faith through the Darkness written by Ryan Curtis. A coloring book, Jacob and the Tractor, was also created to reach a younger audience. According to Corley, “Children’s brains aren’t done growing, and they don’t have adult motor skills. They can’t handle panic situations, and that can cost them their lives,” she says. “My boys were too young to be out there from daylight to dark in the heat every day. Their father said this is what his daddy did and his daddy before him, but what will it take for farmers to understand it’s dangerous?”

Coloring Page 2Although some farming tasks may seem like rituals needed to be passed down from generation to generation, it is much easier to bury a tradition than a child. Progressive Agriculture Safety Days were designed to provide education, training and resources to make farm, ranch and rural life safer and healthier for children and their communities. Our hope is for children to adopt safe practices, change unsafe behavior, and share what they learned with loved ones. By reaching more than 1.8 million children and adults since 1995, Progressive Agriculture Safety Days has been recognized as the largest rural safety and health education program for children in North America. For more information or to locate a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® near you, visit www.progressiveag.org or call us toll-free at 888-257-3529. Help send another child to a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® with a modest donation of only $13. Donate by texting the word “SAFETYDAY” to 44321.

Photo 1: 10-year old Jacob Ross alongside his 8-year old brother, Jackson.

Photo 2: Jacob Spent a week in a drug-induced coma and was on a ventilator in the pediatric intensive care unit for a week.

Photo 3: PAF Program Specialist, Bernard Geschke, along with Jacob’s mother, Amanda Corley, who spoke about Jacob’s incident at a 2018 Progressive Agriculture Safety Day Coordinator Training in Louisiana.

Photo 4: Page colored by Progressive Agriculture Safety Day participant depicting Jacob’s incident.