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Safety comes out a winner

Agriculture.com Staff 07/06/2010 @ 5:05pm

Kevin and Tammy Schnieders are in the kid business. They're the parents of four children: Bethany, 11, Grant, 7, Carson, 6, and Amelia, 2. They also own and operate a 120-head milking goat herd near Delhi, Iowa.

"One thing we like about dairy goats is that they go dry in the late fall, and that gives us more time with our children over the holidays," Tammy says. "In January, the kidding starts. We have about 35 so far."

The Schnieders' first priority is making certain that all their kids -- the two-legged and four-legged varieties -- thrive in a safe environment.

When they moved from town two years ago and launched their dairy goat operation, they knew it would be a family affair. They were excited when their application was one of 10 selected for a 2008 Farm Family Safety Incentive Grant. Recipients were awarded up to $250 to make their farms safer or to conduct safety programs in their community.

It's the fourteenth year for the program, funded by Successful Farming magazine. To date, it's benefitted over 160 families and groups.

The Schnieders family purchased a Sterilite cabinet to store animal medications and syringes. They also added sand to a sandbox, and put more sand as an extra cushion beneath a new play set in their yard.

Near Harmony, Minnesota, safeguarding their growing family also was paramount for Randi and Jim Wingert. They used grant funds to fence a 90x90-foot play area for their four children, ages 8 years to 8 months.

"We have a very congested farmyard, and we try to keep the kids as far away as possible from the highway and driveway," Randi says. "But a fenced-in area helps to ease our fears. It just takes a second for something to go wrong."

Near Crossville, Illinois, 4-Hers Mallory and Shelby Hammell used their safety grant to buy fire extinguishers for their family's combine, sprayer, and truck. "Last summer a 70-year-old neighbor opened a spray boom into a power line, and the tires immediately caught on fire," Mallory says. "He was able to jump to safety with only a broken foot."

Safety concerns stretch across the expanse of the Midwest to the mountains of the Great Plains states. The Sipe family recently began the task of removing serious safety hazards from Lori's great-grandmother's homestead near Deer Lodge, Montana.

"Within a few hundred yards of the house are four springs, deeper than the children are tall," she says. "We all agreed that a chain-link fence around these springs is one of the highest priorities."

The Sipes used their grant money to get started on this major undertaking, purchasing a used chain-link fence and buying new posts.

Calvin Larson and the Shevlin, (Minnesota) Fire Department was awarded a community-based grant. The funding will be used to distribute fire extinguishers and demonstrate proper use to sixth grade students from the Bagley and Clearbrook-Gonvick districts who attend an annual farm safety day.

Kevin and Tammy Schnieders are in the kid business. They're the parents of four children: Bethany, 11, Grant, 7, Carson, 6, and Amelia, 2. They also own and operate a 120-head milking goat herd near Delhi, Iowa.

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