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Kids can learn and teach farm safety

Slideshow: This diorama by an Indiana 4-H’er illustrates farm hazards that people of all ages should consider.

If you think 4-H’ers don’t learn from the projects they exhibit at fairs each summer, pay closer attention when fair season rolls around again. You might be surprised that some of the lessons are not only worthwhile for 4-H’ers, but also are good lessons for adults.

Daniel Jackson’s diorama about farm safety won a blue ribbon at the 2017 Clark County Fair. Anyone who spent time studying his exhibit likely picked up a few reminders more valuable than a blue ribbon. He created a farm scene to depict various unsafe acts that can lead to accidents. He included everything from a tractor rollover to an incident with trees to an accident with animals.

Bill Field, Purdue University Extension farm safety specialist, and Charlene Cheng, Field’s assistant, recently issued the annual Indiana farm fatalities report for 2016. Farm fatalities were up dramatically last year, according to the report. Some of the accidents that caused deaths were depicted by Jackson in his diorama. He also showed unsafe practices on the road, such as neglecting to stop for a school bus with a semitruck loaded with grain.

Fred Whitford, director of Purdue Pesticide Programs, taught classes this year about the dangers of road travel. Those fatalities aren’t included in the 2016 farm fatality report, but they are very real just the same. One fatal accident involved a high-clearance sprayer. Fortunately, an incident involving someone rear-ending a combine at a high rate of speed in northern Indiana wasn’t fatal.

Part of the problem contributing to accidents with farm vehicles on the road is that motorists don’t pay attention, Whitford says. They become distracted and aren’t familiar with how slowly big equipment moves.

Some of the problems on the farm can also be attributed to not paying attention, taking shortcuts and not using common sense. In the slideshow below, take a look at the scenes Jackson depicted, along with information about actual 2016 fatal farm accidents gleaned from the Purdue report.

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