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Farm families post safety gains

CHERYL TEVIS Updated: 08/08/2011 @ 9:10am Cheryl has been an editor at Successful Farming since 1979.

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 years ago.

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 visit them.

“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.

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