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May 01, 2012 | From the Field | Jackie Roembke

Agribusiness Stresses Safety in Ag Classes

Teach kids about potential hazards to prevent incidents

I recently read an article in the Janesville Gazette where a high school ag instructor was conducting a FFA farm safety class for her ag students. She had the local firefighters and EMTs, a local grain and feed elevator along with a helicopter company to demonstrate and train for farm accident rescues such as a grain bin extraction, auger entrapment an anhydrous ammonia leak and a tractor rollover. What a great idea — farm safety in the classroom!

As I read the article, I also found it interesting that the FFA President was the son of the local grain company. This young man plans on majoring in agriculture management and business law at UW-Madison, and will eventually work in the family business. He has a special appreciation for the welfare of ag workers, as his family has always taken extra precautions when it comes to the safety of its employees and customers. This young man is dedicated to coming back from his secondary education and bringing his safety training with him. 

Why do I mention this? Today, there are fewer kids on the farm, which translates fewer kids who know the inherent dangers of ag equipment both at home and at the elevator/mill. This story exemplifies the opportunity agribusinesses have to partner with the rural community leaders and/or the local Vocational Agriculture Technical schools to teach these young kids the dangers of working in the agriculture field. 

Unskilled labor has to come from somewhere, and many of these young kids will come from the city. They will need to be trained sometime, so why not start in the ag classrooms? Who knows, they may be your next feed mill manger or grain elevator manager or even your fertilizer/petroleum manager. Plus, it's great PR opportunity.

So place a call to your local high school’s ag department. Inquire if they have any type of safety related classes. If not, here is a great opportunity to take the lead and put together a couple of hours of ag safety in the classroom. Being in business in a community means you owe the community a safe, clean facility. If the public knew the potential hazards that lurk at many of these facilities, they would not take this information lightly. Again, here is another opportunity to educate not only the students but perhaps their parents. Safety training makes good sense and keeps them in good neighbor status for years to come.

By chance, if your local high school is already doing this — that’s great — but as a business manager, take time to make a difference in a kid’s life — and perhaps save a life as well.

Go ahead and make the call. 

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