Area fourth-graders learn about farm safety

By Kelly Terpstra,

Field trips are fun.

If you learn something along the way, even better.

Area fourth-graders made a day of it on Wednesday at the Floyd County Fairgrounds.

It was Farm Safety Day for 10 fourth-grade classes from Lincoln Elementary, Immaculate Conception, Central Springs and Rudd-Rockford-Marble Rock school districts.

Lesley Mehmen Milius, Floyd County Iowa State Extension Office executive director, said she was happy to see the roughly 200 kids participate in a program that she feels is extremely important.

“The purpose of it has been the same — to teach kids about farm safety. Because what’s evolved over time is that we’re seeing more and more kids removed from the farm,” said Milius. “There’s more and more need for something like this to teach kids how to be really safe.”

Students participated in 10 different stations strewn across the fairgrounds where they could learn about different aspects of farm and general safety like working in, on or around a tractor, understanding the potential dangers of electricity around power lines, or recognizing poison ivy.

Each session lasted 20 minutes and also touched on topics such as preventing accidents from happening when operating mowers or ATVs, or how to help someone who has fallen into a grain bin.

The sheer amount of strength it takes to pull someone out of a bin when he or she is being covered in grain is more than you realize, according to FFA Advisor Bret Spurgin.

“It’s not an easy task for one person to do,” said Spurgin.

The Floyd County Sheriff’s Office showed how to navigate and operate the county’s drone. Kids were mesmerized as the drone zoomed relentlessly in the sky and disappeared high into the air above them.

In the livestock show arena, FFA members taught students how to interact with cows and sheep. After the presentation students got to chance to pet the sheep.

“It’s great opportunity for these fourth-graders in Floyd County to be able to come out here today and be able to learn about not only the safety aspect about it, but to better understand what grain producers and livestock producers and emergency services people, REC — what they do to help provide food, clothing and all those things for them,” said Spurgin.

The day wound down around 2 p.m. as FFA members — many of whom also gave presentations at the various stations — explained what their organization is all about.

Farm Safety Day is sponsored by Progressive Agriculture and has been teaching kids since 1991.