USC aims for safety

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 21, 2006

By Adam Hammer, staff writer

WELLS &8212; Accidents happen, and every year hundreds of children are hurt or killed while playing and working on farms.

For more than a decade, United South Central&8217;s Future Farmers of America group has been trying to teach children how to be more safe around the farm.

Students and public from United South Central and surrounding area will learn about farm safety next Thursday through demonstrations with full-size equipment and an eye-opening look at what some of the gear on the farm can do.

&8220;What&8217;s really neat about the program is I&8217;ll see kids a few years later and they still remember what they learned,&8221; said Dan Dylla, USC FFA adviser.

The program is put on by Dylla&8217;s agriculture leadership and business class, all of whom are FFA members. They started planning in May.

&8220;We draw on a lot of past experience to put this on,&8221; Dylla said. &8220;It&8217;s kind of a several month project.&8221;

The class will give their presentation to kindergarten through fourth-grade students from USC, some USC middle-school students, students from the local private schools and anyone from the public who wants to come. There will be about 600 attending.

&8220;We get some groups that even come out of Minnesota Lake and Alden,&8221; Dylla said.

The FFA group received equipment for the project from area dealers and farmers and will have professionals from around the Wells area presenting.

Some demonstrations use dummies and full-size tractors to show the true effects of what can happen to a person if they are not safe around the equipment.

Seeing the actual effects of some hazards often works better than posters and signs promoting farm safety, Dylla said.

&8220;The demonstrations are somewhat graphic and to the point,&8221; Dylla said. &8220;After seeing the program, people see why.&8221;

A study by the University of Minnesota Extension Service showed that farm injuries among children often happen when a child is doing something that is beyond their mental, physical or emotional ability.

Some of the most common risks among 5- to 9-year-olds are entanglement in augers or other moving machinery and falling out of a tractor or pickup. Many 10- to 13-year-olds are injured operating machinery designed for adults or falling from hay lofts and ladders.

By educating these age groups about farm safety, the USC FFA hopes to make people and children more aware of their surrounding and safety risks around the farm.

The USC FFA Farm Safety Program has received state and national FFA recognition for excellence and was awarded the National Youth Safety Award.