Grain safety from Kaitlyn

Written by Kaitlyn Kerr, 2014 Indiana Outreach Coordinator

Kaitlyn KerrAs county and state fairs wind down for the summer, kids are packing their new backpacks up, as they get ready to start another year of school. School time means one thing for farmers and their families; harvest season is right around the corner. It’s one of the many times during the year that keeps farmers and their families busy from dawn to dusk.

Harvest season not only brings in millions of bushels of grains throughout the United States but it also brings tragedy and heartache for some farming families and their communities. The nonprofit organization, Farm Safety For Just Kids, was created due to an incident involving flowing grain. In 1987, Marilyn Adams founded the organization after the death of her 11-year old son, Keith Algreen, in a gravity flow wagon incident. Through this unthinkable tragedy, Farm Safety For Just Kids’ mission is to promote a safe farm environment to prevent health hazards, injuries, and fatalities to children and youth.

As Indiana’s Farm Safety For Just Kids Outreach Coordinator, I’ve experienced first hand what it’s like to lose a loved one due to a grain entrapment. In the fall of 2010 I lost my 13-year-old younger brother to a grain incident. Being apart of a farming family and a devoted 4-H member I never thought something like this could happen to my family or any family in my community. At the time I never realized how dangerous and unpredictable grain can be for children and adults until I was educated on the subject. I’ve learned that no matter how many times you’ve done something, like being around a moving PTO, driving a tractor, or handling grain, you are still at risk of injury or fatality if you aren’t educated on the matter. Here are some key points to remember when you start harvest season:

  1. Grain handling entrapments happen very quickly. Flowing grain can draw in a person within seconds. Children are at a higher risk of entrapment because they are shorter which allows for them to be submerged in grain quicker than adults. Children also don’t have the strength to pull themselves out of grain before they become entangled.
  2. Grain acts like fluid. When a single kernel is removed from the bottom of a gravity wagon the grain above it rushes to fill the void thus creating a fluid motion.
  3. Grain traps people just like quicksand does. Grain may look like it is solid, but it isn’t.
  4. Suffocation occurs when someone is entrapped in grain. The pressure from the grain can restrict a person’s ability to breath thus filling any voids that are created when the person is trying to escape. The grain will quickly fill the voids therefore creating the person with less room to expand their chest cavity which results in suffocation.

Here are a few things you can do to keep you and your family safe around grain this fall.

  • Apply suffocation decals on gravity wagons, grain bins, and any other grain storage structures found on your farm.
  • Lock access doors to grain bins so that children and youth aren’t getting into grain storage structures.
  • Educate children, youth, and adults about handling grain and the potential suffocation hazards that could occur.
  • Make sure to always have an extra person with you when you are handling grain.
Posted in Accidents, Equipment, Grain, Grain Safety, Gravity Flow Grain Wagons, Harvest, Safety tips, Tractors | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A message from Morgan…

Written by Morgan Zumpfe, 2014 Nebraska Outreach Coordinator

MorganMy Farm Safety Journey started 19 years ago. I grew up as a rambunctious farm kid with two younger siblings. We were always exploring and trying new things. During these explorations and helping on the farm, I can distinctly remember being told, “Don’t run across cornstalks, you will bust an ankle” or “Stay away from that PTO shaft” or “Always have an escape plan” (when working cattle).

My parents reinforced their messages by taking my siblings and I to the annual Crete, Nebraska Farm Safety Day. We loved this day and looked forward to it every year. We became experts at the interactive “look-a-like” Chemical Safety game- so much so that we were told that we had to stop answering questions in order for our peers to get a chance! Our favorite event was the “Mock Accident.” This was always at the end of the hot, summer day when we would sit outside, enjoy an ice cream treat, and watch what happens when an accident occurs. The announcer would talk us through everything that the parties involved had done wrong. The people in the accident would then have to call 911, and the rescue squad would come load up the injured people. This was a fun activity since we knew everyone was safe, but it also made us kids think seriously about the consequences of throwing safety out of the window.

As I got too old to be a camper, I still found a way to be involved by becoming a group leader. Each year, I got a reminder on Sun Safety, ATV Safety, Electricity Safety, Road Safety, etc. and loved getting to know all of the kids.

However, as I grew up, I became distant from the whole “Farm Safety lessons.” I was involved in all of the activities that high school brings, and was too busy to help out at the Safety Day.

I graduated and became a freshman in college when Farm Safety decided to walk back into my life. Last fall, I was at an agricultural leadership conference in Kansas City (Agricultural Futures of America), when I saw the Farm Safety For Just Kids booth. I decided that it would be a good idea to have a conversation with them and explain how much of an impact the organization had had on my life. This is when I learned about the position of Outreach Coordinator. I immediately decided that this part-time position would be an awesome fit for me, where I could re-live some of my childhood memories and possibly be able to make an impact on children’s lives.

This position has been nothing but rewarding. My task is to complete 20 different Farm Safety events and 4 different media events during the year. So far, I have helped at multiple Safety Days where I have done anything from teach Horse Safety to Sun Safety and anything in between. I am looking forward to being able to talk to kids at the State Fair and Husker Harvest Days this fall. Throughout this job, I have learned even more about being safe and have had time to reflect on my childhood. I was lucky enough to have parents that cared and taught me how to be safe on the farm and took me to Farm Safety Day. What about our kids that aren’t as lucky or aren’t old enough to knew better? My goal as Outreach Coordinator is to reach out to those kids. I want to ensure that each event that I go to is as fun, yet educational as it can possibly be. Hopefully my involvement in this organization will make a difference. One life spared makes everything worth it.

My Farm Safety Journey is not over. It will continue through my Outreach Coordinator position, and into my future career in the agricultural industry, and even further into my future children’s lives when I will do my best to teach them the invaluable “Don’t run across cornstalks” and “Stay away from PTO’s” lessons that I was given as a kid.

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Put a Plug in the Noise


Kids not listening to you when you ask them to do something? Is it because they are ignoring you or are you just in a noisy environment? Do them a favor and reduce their risk of hearing loss. Earplugs are small, easy to wear and can be carried in a pocket without taking up much room!


Posted in Children and Youth, Farm Safety, Hearing, Hearing Loss Prevention, Resources, Safety tips | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Farm Safety on YouTube

Ag Centers YouTube ChannelAre you looking for some videos on safety in agriculture? Well look no further! The U.S. Agricultural Safety and Health Centers launched a fantastic YouTube channel late last year that is loaded with great videos.

The channel is a joint project of the 10 Agricultural Centers funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The Ag Centers have created over 50 videos pertaining to working safely in agriculture, forestry, and fishing. Topics include: respiratory protection, livestock safety, tractor and machinery safety, child development, emergency response, grain safety, pesticide safety, heat-illness prevention, ladder safety, and hearing protection. If you haven’t already, visit the page and learn more about safety and health in agriculture!

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The ABCs of Sun Protection

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International Helmet Awareness Day

A campaign called Riders4Helmets has one simple goal: to educate equestrians on the benefits of wearing a properly fitted, certified helmet.

Riders4Helmets was formed in honor of 2008 Olympian rider Courtney King-Dye who suffered a serious brain injury in March 2010 when a horse she was riding tripped and fell. She was not wearing a helmet. Since the campaign started, International Helmet Awareness Day, today July 12, has been created to bring attention to the importance of helmets. So the next time you hop up in the saddle be sure to strap on a helmet to protect yourself from serious injury!


Posted in Animal Safety, Children and Youth, Farm Safety, Resources, Safety tips | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pool Safety with Dr. Lewis First

Are you taking your kids swimming anytime soon? Listen to Dr. Lewis First from the Vermont Children’s Hospital talk about what you can do to make swimming a safer family activity.


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