Blaine County Progressive Agriculture Farm Safety Day 2012
Story and photographs submitted by Katie Scheihing, Central North Canadian River Conservation District.
The Blaine County Fairgrounds hosted the sixth annual Blaine County Progressive Agriculture Farm Safety Day on April 25, 2012. Lisa Garrison and Scott Hoar, Blaine County Conservation District, and Jay Rhoads, OSU Extension Service, led planning for the event. Mary Rusch, Cimarron Valley Conservation District, and Katie Scheihing, Central North Canadian River Conservation District, assisted with planning and helped with the day’s activities.
Fourth-grade students from all Blaine County schools participated in this year’s Farm Safety Day.More than 140 students and their teachers attended eight different learning stations throughout the day. The sessions demonstrated how children can take responsibility for their own safety, respect parents’ safety rules, and share safety tips with their family and friends. Hands-on experiences led by local community members taught participants lifelong farm safety lessons. The lessons are aimed at helping to reduce the number of rural children who die or are injured in farm accidents.
Mark Walker, Blaine County game ranger, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, taught sessions on gun safety, demonstrating the importance of gun locks and how to safely handle guns at home. The Farm Bureau operated a “Fire House,” showing students how to get through a house filled with smoke. Brandon Webb, farmer, rancher and Blaine County Conservation District director, taught animal safety, teaching students about using caution around farm animals and respecting animals. Mike Mier, Western Equipment, and Glenn Smoot, Blaine County Conservation District director, demonstrated the correct safety practices around a tractor or mower including the rule to never have or be a passenger on a tractor.
The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics spoke to the students about illegal drug labs, everyday items used in illegal drug production and about the dangers of illegal substances and their production. Cimarron Electric taught about using safety precautions around electricity at home and on the farm. Lorne Geisler, Blaine County OSU Extension Service, talked about being careful around grain and grain handling equipment. Dana Bessinger, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, taught about healthy lifestyles and healthy eating. OGE presented a safety lesson on using the Oklahoma One Call system to mark underground utility lines before digging or excavating land.
Each child who participated in the daylong event received a Farm Safety Day t-shirt and a goody bag filled with safety information and worksheets. Steve House and Barry Bessinger of Farm Credit and members of the Blaine County Oklahoma Home and Community Education Organization (OHCE) prepared and served lunch and snacks. Volunteers from the Blaine County Conservation District Board of directors assisted during the day as well as many other conservation district employees from other conservation districts.
The Progressive Agriculture Foundation sponsors the events nationally and presents training for coordinators each year. Attending the training sessions helps secure insurance and signs for the events as well as goody bags and t-shirts. Corporate and local sponsor donations also support the events. Corporate and local sponsors for the Blaine County Farm Safety Day included Devon Energy, Central North Canadian River Conservation District, Bank of Western Oklahoma, Cornerstone Bank, Watonga Lions Club, End-O-Main Catering, Blaine County OHCE members, Wheeler Brothers Grain, Farm Credit, Chesapeake Energy, Pioneer Telephone, OERB, Okeene Milling, Department of Wildlife, BIA Fire Division, Farm Bureau, Cimarron Electric, OG&E Corporation, OSU Extension Service, State Farm Insurance and Sonic. The sponsors’ donations provided lunch, snacks and goody bags for all of the event participants and volunteers.