By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation
For 25 years, Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®, a program of the Progressive Agriculture Foundation (PAF), has 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. By partnering with local communities throughout North America, vital safety lessons on relevant topics are delivered to youth. Life-saving information on agriculture-specific topics such as power take-off, tractor and grain bin safety are often covered, as well as other rural topics not specific to farming like staying safe around bodies of water, recreational equipment and utilities like pipelines and railroads.
With the support of dedicated volunteers and generous partners, more than 1.7 million children and adults have been reached since 1995, helping Progressive Agriculture Safety Days become recognized as the largest rural safety and health education program for children in North America. Each year, we train hundreds of volunteers to coordinate a one-day, age-appropriate, hands-on, fun and safe event for children, ages 4 to 13. Once trained, coordinators receive access to peer-reviewed safety and health curriculum including hundreds of hands-on activities and demonstrations, a planning manual and various other resources. PAF provides all youth participants and adult volunteers with a t-shirt, insurance coverage, and a take-home bag. Applications to coordinate a 2020 Progressive Agriculture Safety Day are being accepted through July 15, 2019.
Progressive Agriculture Safety Days works diligently to bring our safety messages and resources to local communities in need. Every $13 raised helps send another child to a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®, where they will receive hands-on learning in a variety of safety topics for use on the farm, ranch or at home. Donations can be made in memory or in honor of a loved one. Text the word “SAFETYDAY” to 41444 or visit progressiveag.org/Donate/. In addition to sending more children to Safety Days, we seek funding to incorporate new lessons on topics such as outdoor safety, weather safety, on-line safety, mental health, tobacco prevention and vaping cessation, bullying and other safety and health concerns impacting children living in rural communities.
In addition to support from businesses and organizations, PAF has been successful in obtaining funding support from UNMC’s Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (CS-CASH) for their project, Creating Enduring Resources for Farm Safety Education. The project focused on the development of digital resources demonstrating how to both assemble and utilize props for the purpose of teaching farm safety and health-related topics. All the videos can be found on the PAFSafetyDays YouTube channel (youtube.com/user/ProAgFound). Most recently, PAF was awarded a Childhood Agricultural Injury Prevention (CAIP) Workshop Grant through the National Children Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety (NCCRAHS). Our project, Initiating the Conversation: Developing Educational Resources Supporting Rural Families, will focus on the development of educational resources to aide in the sometimes-difficult conversations regarding agricultural safety and health-related topics.
On May 16th, the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® program was named the recipient of the National Safety Council’s Green Cross Safety Award for the Advocacy Category, which recognizes the advancement of evidence-based best practices to raise awareness or change policy to prevent further injuries and deaths.
For safety resources or details about coordinating, volunteering or attending a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day, call 888-257-3529 or visit progressiveag.org.
Photo: Sadly, according to the NCCRAHS, sobering statistics reveal that in the U.S. every three days a child dies and every day 33 children are injured due to an ag-related incident. At Progressive Agriculture Safety Days®, community volunteers engage with local youth through age-appropriate, hands-on learning in a fun and safe manner.