In 1990, an article in The Progressive Farmer magazine titled “Just say no, Please say no,” was written from a father about his son. The article discusses how his son tragically died in a tractor accident. Since then, the Progressive Agriculture Foundation formed and this year marks the 25th year of sharing their vision that no child would become ill, injured or die from farm, ranch and rural activities, and on Tuesday, Lambert School learned just how to do that.
According to the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agriculture Health and Safety 2018 Fact Sheet, about every 3 days a child dies in an ag-related accident. Every day 33 children are injured in an ag- related accident, yet 60% of those injuries were not from working when the injury occurred. The top three ag-related injuries involved machinery, ATV’s, or drowning.
Students and faculty that participated in the K-12 Progressive Agriculture Safety Day learned from 11 different local volunteers engaging in hands-on activities to enrich their learning. The topics covered included Tim Fine from the Richland County Extension Office and Dave Haverkamp from the Richland County Weed District discussing tractor and PTO safety. They showed how our reaction time is nothing compared to the power a tractor can have. Shawn Lien from the Lambert Volunteer Fire Department demonstrated what to do in case of a fire. He used sensing equipment to see if people are in a stuck in a home and participants went through the smoke house set up from the Fairview Volunteer Fire Department. Jamie Selting from the NRCS office showcased bees and how they improve the environment, not to be afraid of them, and why it is essential to have them around.
Don Smies from the Richland County Health Department discussed the importance of seatbelt usage even on short trips. Discussing sun safety was Sara Martin. She showcased the various types of ultraviolet rays and various sunscreens and how important it is to reapply every 2 hours. Students made UV bracelets with color-changing beads to know if they are in the presence of UV light and to remember to apply sunscreen. Trish Verschoot’s senior agriculture class teamed up to talk about healthy living and keeping an active lifestyle. They showed how much sugar is in various drinks, had a tasting challenge of healthy foods, and played activity charades.
Teaching kids to be safe around firearms was Josie Evenson from the Richland County Extension office and 4-H shooting sports program. Ira Lake representing Nortana Grain in Lambert discussed chemical safety and how to wear the proper equipment around farm herbicides. He also explained how many chemicals can look similar and quizzed students on common household items that look just like farm chemicals, and to remember to keep them in their proper containers so they are not mistaken for candy.
Linda Bengochea taught water safety. Participants learned the proper equipment to wear for water safety and how simple it is to use an empty milk jug with a little water that is tied to a rope for a life preserver. Lastly, the Richland County Ambulance team of Andy Carda and Bobbi Jo Hackmann showed what they do in case you are faced with an injury.
After the classes went through the small scale rotations, the final speakers to talk to the groups were Deputy Watters and Keller from the Richland County Sheriff’s office. The deputy’s talked about the dangers of distracted driving whether it be a simple phone call, text, or dropping your phone to pick it up.
The preschool had their own rotations of fire safety, water safety, and bike safety where they were given bike helmets. Students, volunteers, staff, and speakers were given t-shirts provided by the Progressive Agriculture Foundation. The foundation provided insurance for the safety day and take-home bags. The bags were filled with donated items from local businesses: The Lambert FFA, Northwest Farm Credit Services of Glasgow, Lower Yellowstone REA, Stockman Bank, Seitz Insurance, MSU Extension, Richland County Health Department, Mid-Rivers Communications, Richland County Fire Department and the Fort Peck Youth and Family Activities Committee.
The Progressive Agriculture Safety Day program is the largest rural safety and health education program for children in North America. Their mission is to provide education and training to make farm, ranch and rural life safer and healthier for children and their communities.