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.

Help Make the Bus Stop, the Safe Spot!

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

With school now back in session, everyone is gradually getting settled into the normal day-to-day routine. Unfortunately, last year around this time, we witnessed the bus-related death of 5 children, along with serious injuries to another 7 children, all within a one-week span in late-October through early-November. These incidents gained national attention and took place in rural communities in Indiana, Mississippi, Florida and Pennsylvania. Most tragic is the fact that all these incidents could have been prevented. These young children, ranging in ages 5 to 12, were all trying to do the same thing…safely get to school.

19-813 Bus SafetyThe school bus serves as the direct link between a neighborhood and the classroom. With more than 25 million children riding the yellow bus every school day, school bus transportation plays a critical role in the education of our nation’s students. Each year, the third full week in October is home to National School Bus Safety Week, an active and evolving public education program and an excellent way for parents, students, teachers, motorists, school bus operators, school administrators, and other interested parties – to join forces and address the importance of school bus safety.

Ensuring our children arrive to and from school safely each day is the responsibility of us. Here are a few bus safety tips:

  1. Getting Ready for School – School prep is important. Children should put everything they carry in a backpack or school bag so that they won’t drop things along the way. Encourage children to wear bright, contrasting colors so they will be more easily seen by drivers. Make sure children leave home on time so they can arrive at the bus stop before it is due, ideally at least five minutes early. Running after or in front of a bus is very dangerous.
  2. Walking to the Bus Stop – Walk young children to the bus stop or encourage children to walk in groups. There is safety in numbers and groups are easier for drivers to see. Practice good pedestrian behavior: walk on the sidewalk, and if there is no sidewalk stay out of the street. If you must walk in the street, walk single file, face traffic and stay as close to the edge of the road as you can. Stop and look left, look right and then left again if you must cross the street. Do the same thing at driveways and alleys. Exaggerate your head turns and narrate your actions so your child knows you are looking left, right and left.
  3. At the Bus Stop – Have children wait in a location where the driver can easily see them while driving down the street. Try to avoid waiting in a house or car. Do not let children play in or near the street, as playing with balls or other toys that could roll onto the street is dangerous.
  4. Getting On and Off the Bus – Warn children that if they drop something getting on and off the bus, they should never pick it up. Instead, they should tell the driver and follow the driver’s instructions. Remind children to look to the right before they step off the bus. If you meet your child at the bus stop after school, wait on the side where the child will be dropped off, not across the street. Children can be so excited to see you after school that they dash across the street and forget the safety rules.

National School Bus Safety Week is October 21-25, 2019 and this year’s theme is “My School Bus, The Safest Form of Student Transportation!” For more information, visit the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) at https://www.napt.org/nsbsw. Bus safety is a topic offered at Progressive Agriculture Safety Days held throughout 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: On September 18, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation conducted a bus safety station for at Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® in Clearfield, Pennsylvania.

Let’s Shift Farm Safety Into High Gear this Harvest

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

2019-NFSHW-Logo-(Color)During harvest, one of the most hectic times of year for a farmer, it is important to remember one vital, life-saving measure; safety! Although it often seems you’re racing against the clock and adding more to the “to do list” than you are eliminating, safety should never take a backseat or be ignored. To shed the light on the importance of safety on farms and ranches, National Farm Safety and Health Week, promotes a 75-year tradition of educating and celebrating safety’s relevance in the agricultural industry. This year’s theme, Shift Farm Safety Into High Gear, reminds us to practice safety more intensely and actively in the day-to-day tasks we must accomplish around the farm.

Emerging issues and important topics will be highlighted daily such as Tractor Safety & Rural Roadway Safety (Monday, September 16th), Farmer Health & Suicide/Opioid Prevention (Tuesday, September 17th), Safety & Health for Youth in Agriculture (Wednesday, September 18th), Confined Spaces in Agriculture (Thursday, September 19th) and Safety & Health for Women in Agriculture (Friday, September 20th).

Each Wednesday of National Farm Safety and Health Week has been devoted annually to safety and health topics affecting children, a cause very near and dear to the Progressive Agriculture Foundation. During this week alone, nearly 30 Progressive Agriculture Safety Days, a one-day, age-appropriate, hands-on, educational, fun and safe event for children in rural communities, will take place. To date, nearly 1.8 million children and adults have learned life-saving safety lessons helping Progressive Agriculture Safety Days become recognized as the largest rural safety and health education program for children in North America.

Large EquipmentDuring these more hectic times of year, it is important to remember children are curious. The sad reality is that every three days a child dies and every day 33 children are injured due to agricultural-related incidents in the United States according to the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety (NCCRAHS). Growing up on or around the farm can be an amazing, one-of-a-kind experience; however, it is important to foster a child’s love and passion for agriculture in a safe manner. Remember, eyes are always watching; therefore, be sure to role model safe behavior during day-to-day practices while handling chemicals or working around large equipment and animals. If youngsters want to get involved, ensure that all tasks and chores assigned to youth are age-appropriate and align with the child’s development skill level. Remind children that the farm is a livelihood and not a play area; therefore, it should be treated with the same respect and care of any other workplace.

Keep in mind that when you make safety a reality, you can help avoid a fatality! During National Farm Safety and Health Week, join us in reflecting, revisiting and rethinking ways to keep ourselves and loved ones safe on the farm, on the ranch and at home. 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. Want to make a safe investment National Farm Safety and Health Week? Help send another child to a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® with a modest donation of only $13. Donate today by texting the word “SAFETYDAY” to 41444.

Additional National Farm Safety and Health Week can be found through the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) at www.necasag.org.

Photo 1: 2019 National Farm Safety and Health Week (NFSHW) Logo

Photo 2: Can you see me? At this Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® in Idaho, participants learn the dangers of blind spots around large equipment.

How Prepared Are You?

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

In recent years, horrific wildfires spread along the West Coast, while tropical storms devastated popular vacation spots through the South. This year alone, we experienced blistering cold temperatures with the polar vortex this winter in the North and Upper Midwest, saw the Midwest face a bomb cyclone leaving detrimental flooding to homes and farms, and most recently this summer California experienced a 6.4 magnitude earthquake. Natural and man-made disasters can strike at any time and it is important to have a planned response. These events could happen while you’re at home, at work, on vacation or even on the road.

18-1721_FirstAid_11482In September, when we celebrate National Preparedness Month, we are reminded to prepare ourselves and our families for emergencies or disasters that could occur with a moment’s notice. In 2017, 59,985 weather-related events resulted in 592 deaths and 4,270 injuries in the United States. Flash floods, tropical storms and heat waves resulted in the most deaths that year; however, tornadoes, ice storms, and thunderstorms and wind were responsible for the largest number of injuries.

18-571_Faces_10966For many communities, especially our rural and farming communities, we may be the first ones to act after a disaster strikes before first responders arrive. Therefore, it is important to prepare in advance to help yourself and your community. Although disasters don’t plan ahead, we can! Here are a few safety tips or things to consider to be prepared when faced with an emergency or disaster:

  1. It’s always better to be safe, than sorry! Don’t ignore updates on severe weather conditions and listen to local weather reports on the television, radio or internet. If electric and cell phone service become disabled, be prepared with flashlights, batteries and other important items.
  2. Make sure to have a family communication plan in place and all members of the family should review and practice the plan. Have all family members’ and other important phone numbers written down or memorized.
  1. Have an evacuation plan in place for your home or farm. You should not only consider how to escape but think about where your family and/or livestock will go next.
  2. Check your insurance policies and coverage for the hazards you may face, such as flood, earthquakes, and tornados.
  3. Have an emergency kit in your car and at least three days of food and water at home.
  4. Be sure to store all important documents, like birth certificates, insurance policies, etc., in a fire-proof safe or safety deposit box.
  5. Learn life-saving skills like first aid and CPR.
  6. Know how to shut off utilities, like gas and water.
  1. Hazards still exist when returning home after a disaster. Be aware of debris, mold, asbestos, chemical, sewage, etc. Always use proper personal protective equipment (PPE) during any clean-up effort.

To date, nearly 1.8 million children & adults have been reached by Progressive Agriculture Safety Days, which is recognized as the largest rural safety and health education program for children in North America. Learn more about the program by calling 888-257-3529 or visiting progressiveag.org. You can help send another child to a Safety Day with a modest donation of only $13. Donate by texting the word “SAFETYDAY” to 41444 or visit progressiveag.org/Donate

Photos: Through activities like putting together first aid kits and creating fire escape plans to learning to administer CPR and create a disaster preparedness kit, Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® participants learn to be prepared in the event of an emergency or disaster.

Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® – Making farm, ranch and rural life safer for children and their communities

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

25YearLogo_NoDatesFor 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.

16-1596_LawnEquipSafety_1715With 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.

It’s National Safety Month: Creating a Safety Culture Starts with YOU!

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

June is upon us, which means it is time to celebrate National Safety Month! During the entire month of June, the National Safety Council, along with the Progressive Agriculture Foundation, encourages you to learn about a new safety topic each week and we challenge you to adopt safer practices while at home, work or at play.

Week 1 focuses on Hazard Recognition: All too often, we become complacent or immune to hazards all around us. Training yourself to spot hazards will help you notice and create a solution to the problem to avoid risk of injuring yourself or others. From lighting, air quality and overexertion at work to the accessibility of prescription medications and cleaning products at home, potential hazards are everywhere. Therefore, ask yourself, “what risks aren’t you seeing?”

Week 2 focuses on Slips, Trips & Falls: Did you know that more than 8 million preventable fall injuries occurred in 2017? We have all heard of distracted driving, but with cell phones and other advancements in technology, distracted walking is now a thing. Although they may seem harmless to you, spills, clutter and other tripping hazards should be cleaned up immediately, as they may not be as obvious to someone else.

Week 3 focuses on Fatigue: Nearly 70 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder. Are you one of them? Chronic sleep deprivation and fatigue are a dangerous combination that can lead to incidents and injury, as well as other health issues like depression, obesity and cardiovascular disease. Little changes like stretching and taking breaks during the workday, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and trying to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night can have positive effects on your health. This may seem easier said than done, but by securing a comfortable environment and turning off electronics, lights and other distractions that may stimulate the brain, you are preparing yourself for a restful night’s sleep. You should also avoid caffeine and adopt stress management techniques, like an exercise regimen, yoga or meditation to get you to a relaxed state.

Dem5pZZWsAABCoK.jpg largeWeek 4 focuses on Impairment: When we think of impairment, we often associate with drugs or alcohol, but driving while drowsy is no different. No level of impairment is safe. With the legalization of cannabis, for both recreational and medicinal purposes, and prescribed opioids on the rise, new safety concerns are emerging at both work and at home. Many workplaces value the safety of their employees and therefore have a zero-tolerance policy. Don’t risk it or take a chance! Failure to comply may not only cost you your job, but more importantly your life or the life of someone else.

Since 1913, the National Safety Council has been working to eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. Progressive Agriculture Safety Days has also been on a mission since 1995 to provide the education, training, and resources to make farm, ranch and rural life safer and healthier for children and their communities. Many of the topics highlighted during National Safety Month are some of the lessons children learn about when they attend a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®, the largest rural safety and health education program for children in North America. Find out if one will be taking place in your community this year by visiting http://www.progressiveag.org. Looking for a safe investment? Help send another child to a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day with a modest donation of only $13. Donate by texting the word “SAFETYDAY” to 41444 or visit progressiveag.org/Donate.

For more materials on National Safety Month, visit the National Safety Council at www.nsc.org

Photo:  At Progressive Agriculture Safety Days, vision impairment goggles help simulate what it feels like to drive impaired from being either under the influence of drugs or alcohol or driving while drowsy.

Progressive Agriculture Safety Day Selected as Recipient of the National Safety Council’s Green Cross Safety Advocacy Award

NSC Green Gross Photo 1 Close UpOutstanding achievements in safety were recognized at the Green Cross for Safety Awards celebration held on May 16 at the Swissotel in Chicago. Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®, a program of the Progressive Agriculture Foundation®, took home the National Safety Council’s Green Cross Safety Advocate Award.

This prestigious award recognizes the advancement of evidence-based best practices to raise awareness or change policy to prevent further injuries and deaths. The annual celebration of safety, put on by the National Safety Council, brings together mission-driven advocates, safety professionals, corporations and government officials from around the country with the common goal of creating a safer world.

“To be recognized with a National Safety Council Award is validation of the hard work by many in the name of safety, both inside and outside the organizational setting,” says Amy K. Harper, PhD, CSP, SMS director of workplace strategy and consulting operations, National Safety Council. “Those dedicated to safety as a profession are passionate advocates for improvement and are skilled leaders and listeners. It is our hope that recognition of excellence in safety will not only encourage other companies to emulate what works, but provide a benchmark and inspiration for what is possible.”

The Progressive Agriculture Foundation was recognized for its recent project with the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health and the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health called Creating Enduring Resources for Farm Safety Education. This program provided Progressive Agriculture Safety Day coordinators with a collection of digital resources highlighting various safety topics, as well as instructions on how to build props to effectively demonstrate proper farm and health safety strategies to children at Progressive Agriculture Safety Day events.

NSC Green Cross 2019 Photo 2The Green Cross Safety Advocate Award was sponsored by FirstGroup, a leading provider of transport services in the UK and North America. Brian Kuhl, chief executive officer, and Jana Davidson, education content specialist, accepted the award on behalf of the Progressive Agriculture Foundation.

“Looking back to the early 1990s, the foundation for our program began,” shared Kuhl. “Jack Odle, then the editor-in-chief of The Progressive Farmer magazine, became frustrated writing about heartbreaking incidents causing injury and death among farmers and farm families, which were shared through the magazine’s series called ‘Our Deadly Harvest.’ Jack vowed to lead an effort to help reduce these occurrences, gathering several agricultural safety and health professionals to make a positive change.”

“This is a recognition of the past 25 years of growth and a rallying cry for the next 25 — a step that brings us closer to our vision of living in a world where no child will ever become ill, suffer an injury or die from farm, ranch or rural activities,” said Kuhl.

Other award recipients included Nationwide, which took home the Safety Excellence Award, and Schneider, which earned the Safety Innovation Award. For more on the event and the award winners, visit greencross.nsc.org.

PHOTO 1 (left to right): Progressive Agriculture Foundation’s Jana Davidson, education content specialist, and Brian Kuhl, chief executive officer, accept the National Safety Council’s Green Cross Safety Advocate Award at an award celebration held on May 16 in Chicago.

PHOTO 2 (left to right): Darryl C. Hill, senior vice-president of safety at FirstGroup America, presented the National Safety Council’s Green Cross Safety Advocate Award to Progressive Agriculture Foundation’s Jana Davidson, education content specialist, and Brian Kuhl, chief executive officer, along with Nicholas J. Smith, interim president and CEO of the National Safety Council, and Mark Vergnano, National Safety Council chairman and CEO of The Chemours Company.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL SAFETY COUNCIL — The National Safety Council (nsc.org) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact.