One of the features at a recent District FFA Leadership Contest and Convention held at Danville High School for chapters in central Indiana wasn't actually an FFA display or exhibit. It was a farm safety display, which is the brainchild of Jim Rink, a manager with Farm Bureau Insurance.
During the day, he's in charge of ag insurance, including crop insurance, for the company. But in the evenings and whenever he's invited, he's all about promoting farm safety. If people take the message home and apply it, in theory, Farm Bureau should have fewer claims to pay. But his real reason for doing it is just to help people out, and to help them remember that they work in a dangerous environment. They don't need to do things to contribute to making it an even more dangerous place.
On this particular evening, FFA students stopped and took time to fill out sheets identifying the hazards. Rink says he recognizes 36 actual hazards in the model display of a farmstead he built himself. However, one group of FFA students working together found 55, another found 52. Amazing what kids will do when the prize is a huge chocolate Easter bunny in a brightly colored box, even when they're teenagers!
Rink began showing the display at the Indiana Farm Bureau Convention, primarily to a crowd of much older adults, last December. News his project spreads by word of mouth. People invite him, to bring the display to events where farmers or farm families, including kids, will gather and will have time to look over this display.
What are some of the hazards? Included is a propane tank too close to the house, a junk pile behind the barn, with empty herbicide cans covered by brush, a child unattended in the farm pond, playing innocently while his older brother is shooting a rifle, standing on top of a four-wheeler nearby.
"That one is loaded with poor safety habits," Rink says. "Besides the obvious things the guy shooting the gun who was riding the ATV should be wearing a helmet."
Other safety hazards include a lightning rod cable that's no longer grounded, augers too tall for power lines still used inside the farmstead, and broken fences in the livestock area. The pasture gate was even left standing wide open.
Contact your local Farm Bureau office for more information about the display.