Being aware of farms’ dangers
By DOUG CLOUGH
IDA GROVE – Farmers and their families hope to never find out what it would be like to rescue someone from a grain bin. Fourth-graders from Ridgeview and Odebolt-Arthur/Battle Creek-Ida Grove school districts, however, came as close as a producer would ever want to at Ida County’s Ag Safety Day.
The event took place on Sept. 6 at the fairgrounds north of town.
Phillip Jensen, Ida County Extension program coordinator, simulated grain bin safety by having students try to pull a small disk the size of an ice cream lid from a tub of field corn. “This is close to what it would feel like if you were trying to pull a person from a corn bin,” Jensen said. “Now, imagine how the person who was trapped would feel. How do you think they’d feel?”
Eager hands shot up, waiting to be called upon.
Jensen used his farming experience to help pupils see the effects and how to respond. Lexi Schmidt, a junior at Ridgeview, used her own personal experience to connect with the students.
Schmidt nearly lost her arm in an all-terrain vehicle accident two years ago and has had 16 surgeries in the aftermath. She detailed how to be safe when using this equipment that is what some consider necessary on a farmstead.
“It’s not only important to take an ATV safety course,” said Schmidt, “but to always drive safely and wear the right equipment including a helmet, gloves, long pants, long sleeves and boots.”
Schmidt brought a picture of her injury to emphasize her point, telling the fourth-graders to drive sensibly and wait until they are 16 and properly trained before driving an ATV.
Kirsten Weber, an OA/BC-IG junior, was on-hand to share her experience with horses at an animal safety session. While students were interested in approaching her mare, Weber emphasized a few key points herself.
“To be respectful to a strange horse or any animal, you can’t just walk up to it abruptly,” Weber said. “Also, don’t walk behind a horse or any animal that is able to kick. Finally, make sure to wear a helmet when riding.” Weber showed the students how to approach KC, the quarter horse she chose to accompany her for her presentation.
Many others presented safety tips that day. These included:
n Tom Gray, a Hultgren Implement employee, discussed safety during combine season.
n Jill Sadler, Iowa State University Extension, demonstrated how students should wash their hands after playing or working, and showed with a black light how germs may still be on their hands after washing.
n Jenni Sohm, a Horn Memorial Hospital staff member, showed how to create a makeshift splint when someone is injured without professional help in reach.
n Mark Bragg and paramedic Mickey Sauser showed students around a Cherokee County Hospital air ambulance. Julie Dolphin, a flight nurse and part of the ambulance crew, helped to answer questions after the air ambulance tour.
“I was very impressed with all of the presenters and the wide range of topics they covered,” said OA/BC-IG instructor Kim Christensen. “They shared their knowledge on the students’ level, and I could tell by the kids’ questions and comments that they were being challenged to really think.
“Often the speakers mentioned their hope that these students could become spokespersons for safety in their families or among their group of friends.”
Chloe Hoagland, one of Christensen’s students, was grateful for everyone’s efforts. “I really appreciated all the presentations from beginning to end,” said Hoagland, “from the combine to the first aid station.”
Roger Bumann, a member of the Ida County Farm Bureau board of directors, along with Vince Davis, regional manager for the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, arranged the presentations and coordinated the event. Horn Memorial Hospital, Ida County ISU Extension, and Crop Production Services also contributed to the five-hour program.