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Farm families post safety gains
Kimberly and Mark Oldfather
knew they had their work cut out for them when they moved with their young
family into an older brick farmhouse near North Manchester, Indiana, three
The Oldfathers, who farm
with Mark’s parents, have kept busy setting up their house to accommodate their
growing family: Sierra, 5, Brooke, 18 months, and Jorden, 6 months. “We had
three children under 4 with upstairs bedrooms, and we were concerned about the
fire hazard,” Kimberly says. “Sometimes I would lay awake thinking about it.”
The Oldfathers wanted to
rewire their upstairs and add a smoke alarm system. The farm is located close
to a busy main highway, and they also identified fencing as an immediate need.
So Kimberly applied for a
2010 Farm Family Safety Incentive Grant. Recipients are awarded up to $250 to
make their farms safer or to conduct safety programs in their communities.
The Oldfathers were selected
as one of 10 recipients of the grant, sponsored by Farm Safety 4 Just Kids and
Successful Farming magazine. Over the past 16 years, the program has benefitted
about 180 families and community groups.
Mark also operates an
excavating business that keeps him busy after harvest. They plan to build a
fence in early spring.
Out of sight, out of mind
Jack and Judy Graham operate
a small egg and meat production business on their third-generation farm near
Lucerne, Indiana. Their 4-year-old and 2-year-old grandchildren frequently
“A farm setting poses risk
to curious, adventurous children who like to climb and explore,” Judy says. “Certain
materials such as farm chemicals, supplies, and equipment we use present a
hazard to our grandchildren and other small children.”
The Grahams received a grant
to create a locked storage system to guard against accidental poisoning,
exposure to hazardous substances, and unhealthy environments.
They placed the storage
container in a convenient location but not where it is readily accessible to
children. They keep the key in a safe place.
Their cattle herd also
creates a hazard. “We live on a road frequently used by people biking or
walking,” Judy says. “We use an electric fence to secure our animals, but it
poses a risk to nonfarm people unaware of electric fences.”
Their grant included funds
for warning signs to post on their electric fence.
Near Ulysses, Nebraska, Tom
and Alison Otte grow corn and soybeans. They’re also raising two children under
the age of 3, Luke and Kate.
“Our farm is busy during
planting and harvesting seasons,” Alison says. “The road past our home is a
main county road with everything from farm semitrailers and tractors to cars
and pickup trucks.”
The Ottes wanted to build a
playground area in the backyard with a sandbox, slide, swings, rock-climbing
wall, and fort area. “It will be away from the farm shops and the road,” she
“It also will be near the
garden, so I can get some work done while they’re playing.”
Near Pequot Lakes,
Minnesota, Ashley and Christopher Foster are looking forward to showing their
sheep at the county fair this year.
Ashley, 9, applied for a
grant to buy protective gear when working with her 4-H livestock, including
steel-toed boots and gloves. She also purchased a sheep fitting stand. “The
clippers are very sharp, and you can cut yourself and the lamb if it doesn’t
stand still,” she says.
Her brother, Christopher,
11, wanted to buy newer, safer heat lamps to use during lambing, as well as two
fire extinguishers to place at each barn exit.
“Heat lamps often are blamed
for barn fires, scorched wool, and overheating,” he says. “The newer models
have a protective guard and a hanging system.”
Two community Farm Safety
Incentive Grants also were awarded this year. Dick Campany, Alexandria (New
York) Central School vo ag teacher, used a grant to upgrade his safety
education video library.
“Safety is a topic that
needs to be presented in the classroom,” he says. “With a limited school
budget, this would be a way to reach farm kids in the classroom.”
Near Morrowville, Kansas,
Twilya L’Ecuyer applied grant funds (which were matched by other grants) toward
the purchase of night-reflective EMS address signs for rural Mill Creek
Township residents. They will post 75 signs this spring.
“About four years ago, we
had an outbuilding catch fire at dusk,” she says. “The building was very near a
ripe wheat field. We thought we were easy to find, but the fire department had
some difficulty locating our farm.
“Afterwards, we purchased a
night-reflective address marker through our county Farm Bureau, and we wanted
our neighbors to have these, too. When seconds count, it’s critical we give our
first responders every bit of help we can.”
Applications for the 2011
grant are due by September 1. Submit a one-page request explaining your farm
safety action plan, along with a cost estimate, to:
Farm Safety 4 Just Kids
11304 Aurora Avenue
Urbandale, IA 50322
2010 Grant Winners
video monitor and video handheld unit.
Alexandria Bay, New
videos for ag class.
gear for working with sheep.
Purchased heat lamps,
bulbs, and fire extinguisher.
Jack and Judy Graham
Bought locked storage
shed and warning sign.
Ron and Arianne Henry
Bought fencing, gate,
post, tension bar, caps, and rails for a play area.
night-reflective address signs.
Mark and Kimberly
N. Manchester, Indiana
wiring for house, fencing.
Tom and Alison Otte
Bought materials to
build a playground.
Matt and Rhonda Saucier
camera to video Grandpa showing how to work safely on the farm.