A $13 Investment in Safety Can Make a Lasting Impact

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

58113_PAF_Facebook_Cover_820x461_02_v1From ATVs to tractors, thousands of dollars are spent each year on farms to purchase new equipment. However, an investment in safety is often overlooked. Devastatingly, every three days a child dies due to agriculture-related incidents in the United States, according to the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety.

The Progressive Agriculture Foundation® is looking for help from those who live and work in rural communities to make a safe, modest investment this fall. The foundation is asking community members to consider donating $13 to send a child to a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®. This small investment is all it takes for a child to attend a Safety Day and take away life-saving lessons about staying safe on the farm and at home.

Keeping safety at the forefront is key to avoiding incidents on farms. Safety Days help young people differentiate between the farmstead and playground, as well as help parents identify age-appropriate tasks and farm chores. In addition to providing hands-on lessons for children in rural areas, Safety Days can be customized to meet the needs of local communities through selecting the most relevant topics facing area youth.

To date, more than 1.6 million children and adults have learned life-saving lessons, helping Progressive Agriculture Safety Days become recognized as the largest rural safety and health education program for children in North America.

To donate and learn more about Progressive Agriculture Safety Days, call 888-257-3529 or visit progressiveag.org

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Fall into Safety this Autumn Season

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

As the leaves on the trees, weather and hours of daylight each day begin to change this fall season, new safety concerns are emerging around cold & flu season to driving in the dark. The start of a new season can also be a good time to be reminded of important practices to keep families safe and healthy.

11-346_GlowGerm_3112The dreaded fever, headache, fatigue, dry cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, nausea can only mean one thing – you have the flu bug. People are contagious one day before symptoms appear and up to a week after. When you don’t feel well, it’s best to take care of yourself and co-workers by staying home. And don’t go back to work (or school) for at least 24 hours after a fever is gone. To help combat the spread of the illness, the CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine annually. Avoid being around sick people whenever possible, wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer, always cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing, preferably with the inside of your arm rather than your hand, and disinfect any surfaces that may be contaminated.

For many throughout the country, Daylight Savings Time takes place the first Sunday in November and serves as a great reminder to perform safety checks on batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. When the time comes for us to set our clocks back an hour, many dread the lack of daylight and darkness that comes with it. Fatigue, lack of light, compromised night vision, rush hour and impaired drivers all contribute to making driving at night more dangerous than during any other time of day according to the National Safety Council. Additionally, depth perception, color recognition and peripheral vision can be compromised in the dark, and the glare of headlights from an oncoming vehicle can temporarily blind a driver. Pedestrians, such as those walking home from work or school to children trick or treating at Halloween time, can also be hard to see. Here are 10 safety tips to keep in mind for driving in darkness:

  1. Aim your headlights correctly, and make sure they’re clean.
  2. Dim your dashboard.
  3. Look away from oncoming lights.
  4. If you wear glasses, make sure they’re anti-reflective.
  5. Clean the windshield to eliminate streaks.
  6. Slow down to compensate for limited visibility and reduced stopping time.
  7. Get seven to nine hours of sleep a night, so you are not drowsy.
  8. Don’t drive if you’ve been awake for 24 hours or more.
  9. If traveling a long distance, stop every two hours to rest.
  10. Travel during times you are normally awake.

These safety tips are examples of what children & families learn when they attend a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®, which are held each year throughout North America. To date, more than 1.6 million children & adults have participated in a Safety Day within their local community. Learn more at progressiveag.org

Photo:  At numerous Progressive Agriculture Safety Days®, like this one in Iowa, participants learn the importance of proper handwashing to avoid the spread of germs.

Putting Farm Safety into Practice

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

2017.NFSHW_color-logoA safe and healthy harvest is a happy harvest! Each September, as week kick off harvest season, we are reminded of the importance of keeping safety in mind all the time to maintain productivity and avoid injuries and illness. During National Farm Safety and Health Week, taking place September 17– 23, 2017, we focus on “Putting Farm Safety into Practice.”

According to the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety (NCCRAHS), every three days a child dies and every day 33 children are injured due to agricultural-related incidents in the United States. Therefore, Wednesday, September 20th has been devoted to protecting our youth and keeping children on farms, ranches and in rural areas safe and healthy.

Grain SafetyGrowing up on a farm can be a wonderful experience. From a young age, children gain a strong appreciation for agriculture, learn the value of hard work and develop into the next generations of farmers. However, in order to ensure our children are around to be our future agriculture leaders, we need to keep them safe and healthy. Here are a few ways to help make this happen:

  1. Always make the play area more fun than the farmstead. Sadly, what seems like an innocent game of hide and seek in the tall corn or other crops can turn deadly if a child is hidden from sight and invisible to the operator of large farm equipment. Another important issue when it comes to grain safety is to avoid confusing children by sending mixed messages. At places like pumpkin patches and local parks, sand boxes have been replaced by corn, soybeans and other local grains. A young child will have trouble identifying the difference between grain in the box and grain in a gravity flow wagon that could engulf them in seconds.
  2. Ensure that tasks given to youth align with their development skill level. Recently, Agricultural Youth Work Guidelines were updated and released by NCCRAHS. These guidelines are designed to assist parents and supervisors in assigning appropriate tasks for youth who live or work on farms and ranches. The Progressive Agriculture Foundation was one of many organizations that helped with this project. More can be found at cultivatesafety.org/work
  3. Attend a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®. Safety Days are designed to be one-day, age-appropriate, hands-on, fun and safe events for children in rural communities. Since the program’s inception in 1995, more than 1.5 million children and adults have learned life-saving safety lessons helping us become recognized as the largest rural safety and health education program for children in North America. For more information or to locate a Safety Day near you, visit progressiveag.org or call us toll-free at 888-257-3529.

Farm Safety and Health Week is a great opportunity to reflect, revisit and rethink the importance of keeping our loved ones safe, as well as a time to adopt new safety practices for use on the farm, ranch or at home.

Photo:  With 28 topic areas from ATV, fire and electricity safety to animal, chemical and grain safety, as depicted here by one of our participants in Illinois, Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® can customize their focus based on the needs of their local community. Photo republished by permission of The News-Gazette, Inc. (2016). Permission does not imply endorsement.]

All In Favor of Protecting Your Vision……Say EYE

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

14-115_HandToolSafety_514Seeing truly is believing when it comes to eye safety and health and August helps recognize its importance while celebrating Children’s Eye Health & Safety Month. Each day, thousands of Americans suffer an eye injury. Many of these injuries occur in the workplace including farms, where young children are actively present. Exposure to chemicals, sunlight, gases, vapors and even debris in the air can have a lasting impact on the health of your eyes.

Although children’s eyes are mostly healthy, Children’s Eye Health & Safety Month serves as the perfect reminder for you to have your children’s eyes checked. Examinations during regularly scheduled pediatric visits should ideally start from the age of three and continue onwards. Here are five eye-opening tips to protect your child’s vision:

  1. Properly fitted and appropriate eye protection can reduce the risk of eye injuries by at least 90%, according The Ohio Ophthalmological Society. With children heading back to school and athletes getting back into regular practices, you can prevent sport-related eye injuries with the proper eye protection. Sunglasses can also aid in preventing the development of cataracts, retinal damage, and also protect your skin from cancer. Be sure your sunglasses provide 100% ultraviolet protection from both the UVA rays and UVB rays.
  2. In addition to wearing eye protection for all hazardous activities at home, in school, in sports or on the job that could lead to an eye injury, being prepared and thinking about first aid is also important. Having first aid kits with a rigid eye shield and eyewash station is a great way to be proactive in preventing or aiding in the event of an eye injury.
  3. As children grow and their vision changes, glasses and contact lens often come into play. Whether your child’s glasses or contacts are for close up or distance vision, it is important that he or she wears them exactly as prescribed by the eye doctor. You may want to talk to your child’s teachers and other adult guardians to ensure that your child is wearing them at school or away from home.
  4. Proper nutrition is essential in eye health. Vegetables, especially leafy green ones, should be an important part of the daily diet. Diets with higher levels of vitamin C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids can aid is eye health.
  5. Avoid eye fatigue from smartphones, tablets, and computers. If you notice eyestrain from working on one of these devices, The American Optometric Association recommends following the 20-20-20 rule. Look up from your work every 20 minutes and focus at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. If you notice problems and they persist, it is important to be checked for proper prescription of eye glasses, contact lenses or other medical conditions.

These safety tips are examples of what children & families learn when they attend a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®, which are held each year throughout North America. This year alone, more than 100,000 children & adults will participate in a Safety Day within their local community. Learn more at www.progressiveag.org or call us toll-free at 888-257-3529.

Photo: Understanding the importance of always wearing eye protection is what these participants at a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® in Nebraska are learning through an educational, hands-on activity.

Faith Through the Darkness: A Life Lesson in Farm Safety

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

The ProgressTammy with groupive Agriculture Safety Day® program was created with one thing in mind…..to keep children safe on farms, ranches and in rural communities. Many in the agriculture industry know someone whose life has been affected by a farm-related injury or death. What is most disturbing is many of these incidents could have been prevented with a few simple safety precautions.

Tammie Stutts has been trying to reach children, mostly fifth graders, in Northeastern Louisiana for more than 20 years, as both a Farm Bureau member and Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® volunteer. Tammie, along with her daughter Blake, have coordinated a total of 21 Progressive Agriculture Safety Days since 1997.  When Jacob Ross, a fifth grader in their small community, got severely injured in a farm incident the entire community knew about what had occurred and were all praying for him. Ross made a remarkable recovery and was in attendance at Tammie’s Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® in May of 2011.

According to Stutts, “Anytime you can hear someone’s personal story or journey, it is not just a statistic and you change the mindset of this will never happen to me. It adds a personal touch with people you know.” The year Jacob was a fifth grader and told his story, it really impacted the youth participants. “The children thought this is someone my age, living the life I live and part of my community,” Stutts added.

Tammy by helicopterStutts initially worked with Jacob’s grandma, who was a fifth grade teacher in their community, to help Jacob share the traumatic experience with his peers. He has come back to Tammie’s Safety Days a couple more times over the years, helping kids understand how quickly things can go wrong when around farm equipment if not careful. Jacob’s story was featured in a calendar produced by Bunge, a 5-star partner of the Progressive Agriculture Foundation, when a participant at Tammie’s Safety Day colored a picture depicting what he learned.

As both a mother and farmer, Tammie is keenly aware of the importance of safety on the farm. It was at a Safety Day in 2016 that Tammie heard Amanda, Jacob’s mom, share her side of the story. Tammie thought more people needed to hear it. After she reached out to Bernard Geschke, Program Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation, they found an author willing to help Amanda get her experiences down on paper and into print. The book, Faith through the Darkness written by Ryan Curtis, is a riveting story of one mother’s struggle to save her son’s life. The book was recently released on June 22nd and is available for purchase through Amazon. More on the story can be found at www.ryancurtisbooks.com/books/faith-through-the-darkness

The Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® is recognized as the largest rural safety and health education program for children in North America, reaching nearly 1.6 million children and adults since 1995. Application to conduct a 2018 Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® in your local community are being accepted through July 15, 2017. To apply to host a Safety Day or for more information about the program, visit www.progressiveag.org or call us toll-free at 888-257-3529.

Photo: Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® Coordinator, Tammie Stutts of Louisiana, helped shed light on a local mother’s story and heart-wrenching journey when her 10-year-old son was severely injured in a farm incident.

For National Safety Month, Let’s Keep Each Other Safe

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

16-1215_Faces_638The National Safety Council, along with the Progressive Agriculture Foundation, work to raise awareness of what it takes to Keep Each Other Safe, which is this year’s theme of National Safety Month. Observed annually in June, National Safety Month focuses on reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road and in our homes and communities. During the entire month of June, NSC has identified the following four safety topics to be highlighted each week:

Week 1 – Stand Up to Falls: “Don’t get tripped up! Keep an eye out to prevent falls.” Although home is the place where we feel the safest, falls in the home are one of the leading causes of injury-related death in the U.S., second only to poisoning. Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries, including concussions, according to the Centers of Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). From removing common tripping hazards such as rugs, cords and spills to getting regular vision screenings, you can help eliminate your chances of falling.

Week 2 – Recharge to Be in Charge:  With a focus on fatigue, this week highlights the importance of getting an accurate amount of sleep. The CDC reports that one in three adults do not get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can lead to injuries at work, home or on the farm. Not only is fatigue unhealthy for the individual, but it can impact the safety of others, including children and co-workers. Lack of alertness behind the wheel of a vehicle or machinery can have devastating consequences.

Week 3 – Prepare for Active Shooters: Preparing for the worst can be a difficult task, as it involves us thinking of a situation we do not ever want to be faced with. However, being prepared can be your best defense. By being aware of your environment and locating the nearest two exits for any place you visit, you are prepared for any dangerous situation including emergency evacuations for fires and other unexpected circumstances.

Week 4 – Don’t Just Sit There: This week’s focus is ergonomics and provide tips to remain healthy and active by avoiding lower back pain. According to the American Chiropractic Association, nearly 80% of Americans will experience back problems at some point in their lives. With proper stretching prior to lifting, using your legs and not your back, and limiting the amount of weight you carry, you can help prevent strains, dislocations and muscle tears.

These topics highlighted during June’s safety month are some of the lessons children learn when they attend a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®, the largest rural safety and health education program for children in North America. If you are interested in conducting a 2018 Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® for your community, applications are being accepted through July 15, 2017. To apply to host a Safety Day or for more information about the program, visit www.progressiveag.org or call us toll-free at 888-257-3529.

Photo: These Pennsylvania participants are all smiles after attending a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®, which are designed to be age-appropriate, hands-on, fun and safe for all children. To date, more than 1.5 million children and adults have been impacted by the program throughout North America.

Continuing a Legacy of Farm Safety Education

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

Bernard Geschke and Marilyn Adams 2016Spring is here, grass is growing and planters are rolling. Safety cannot be overlooked during this busy time of year. According to the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, every three days a child dies and every day 33 children are injured in agriculture-related incidents. To protect the future generation of farmers, a focus on youth farm safety education must remain at the forefront.

Farm Safety For Just Kids (FS4JK), an organization committed to providing safety education to children in rural communities, recently announced it will dissolve after nearly three decades. In doing so, the organization feels the mission of making agriculture safer for youth will be better served by combining its resources and assets with the Progressive Agriculture Foundation, which organizes more than 400 youth safety events each year through its Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® program.

“We are honored that FS4JK entrusted our program to continue with their farm safety legacy by donating its assets,” says Susan Reynolds-Porter, chief executive officer of the Progressive Agriculture Foundation. “These funds will be used to help us provide the training, resources and support needed for even more communities to conduct Safety Days for children.”

The foundation is welcoming FS4JK chapters that want to continue their efforts through the Safety Days program and will share FS4JK educational resources on its website.

According to Marilyn Adams, FS4JK founder and president, “We feel the organization has accomplished what we set out to do 30 years ago: to support farm safety education in the United States and around the world. This transfer of assets will further the mission we all have worked hard to accomplish.”

In the fall of 1986, Marilyn’s 11-year-old son, Keith, suffocated in a gravity flow wagon of corn while helping with harvest on his parents’ farm. Months later, when Marilyn was helping her daughter with an FFA project, while researching farm safety, she uncovered that Keith’s story wasn’t unique. After continually reading stories about hundreds of children dying on farms each year, Marilyn founded Farm Safety For Just Kids in the hopes of preventing another tragedy. From its humble beginnings as a grassroots movement that started out of a spare room in Marilyn’s Iowa home, the organization has reached thousands of children, families and communities with life-saving information.

The Progressive Agriculture Foundation plans to continue the legacy of FS4JK throughout North America. Forming in 1995, in response to countless news stories featured in The Progressive Farmer magazine on farm injuries and fatalities, many involving children, the Safety Day program was created to reduce these tragedies. In the first year, 19 Safety Day events were hosted across the Midwest and the South. Now in its 23rd year, the program has grown to be recognized as the largest rural safety and health education program for children in North America, impacting more than 1.5 million youth and adults.

For more information on safety or for details about hosting, donating to, volunteering at or attending a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day, visit progressiveag.org.

Photo: Bernard Geschke, Program Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation, stands alongside Farm Safety For Just Kids founder, Marilyn Adams, at the 2016 Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa. Geschke and Adams have worked in farm safety together for more than 20 years. Although retiring full-time from the FS4JK organization in 2012, Adams remains a strong farm safety advocate.