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FS4JK Disbands; Farm Safety Work Continues
After three decades of service, the board of directors of Farm Safety For Just Kids (FS4JK) announced this week that the organization will be dissolved at the end of 2016. The group’s mission of education, research, and outreach on farm safety issues will continue through the Progressive Agriculture Foundation (PAF), an organization with a similar mission, based in Birmingham, Alabama.
“We are proud of the work we have done to promote farm safety for the youngest members of farm families,” says Farm Safety For Just Kids founder and president Marilyn Adams. “We believe this move will further the mission of keeping farms safe for youth. That was the goal 30 years ago, and that remains the goal today. We feel the organization has accomplished what we set out to do almost 30 years ago: To support farm safety education in the U.S. and around the world. I believe that this move will further the mission we all have worked hard to accomplish.”
According to the announcement, FS4JK will donate $5,000 to both the National 4-H Council and National FFA Organization in recognition of their advocacy of youth safety in agriculture, and it will donate its library of educational materials and the balance of its assets to PAF.
Management of FS4JK’s 2016 Outreach Program will also be transferred to PAF. The program consists of a team of coordinators who travel across the country conducting free farm safety presentations and demonstrations at county fairs, festivals, schools, safety days, 4-H and FFA meetings, and other gatherings.
Three Decades of Service
Adams founded FS4JK in 1988, a year after her 11-year-old son, Keith, suffocated in a gravity-flow grain wagon. Read more about Adams’s story and how her grief fueled her to form the group in order to help other families avoid unnecessary tragedies in the Successful Farming magazine article, Keeping Kids Safe.
Over the years, Adams worked tirelessly to bring the message of farm safety to the masses, and she even convinced First Lady Barbara Bush to serve as the organization’s honorary chairperson. Adams retired from her position as FS4JK founding president in 2012, but she remained on the board of directors and continued public speaking on a more limited basis.
Today, more than 110 FS4JK chapters serve 27 states and four Canadian provinces. Volunteers spend thousands of hours each year teaching children and families about farm safety, and millions of children have attended FS4JK day camps, programs, and seminars.
While even one child’s death or injury is too many, it is clear that progress is being made. In the period from 1998 to 2011, a USDA study showed the rate of childhood injuries for children living on farms decreased by 48%. From 1998 to 2009, the rate of injuries to farm youth fell from 16.6 to 6.8 per 1,000 farms.
Proud to Partner
Successful Farming magazine has been proud to partner with FS4JK over the years, making financial contributions to support the organization’s volunteer chapter network and keeping readers informed about FS4JK and farm safety though numerous articles.
FS4JK and Successful Farming magazine also partnered for two decades on the Farm Family Safety Incentive Grant, which provided the financial means for hundreds of families to make their farms a safer place and for rural communities to improve safety efforts. Recipients used the grants for items like equestrian and ATV helmets, safe play areas for kids, manure pit covers, ROPS for tractors, first aid kits, safer electrical systems, fire extinguishers, fencing for dangerous areas, filling abandoned wells, and more.
“Successful Farming has cherished our long-term relationship with Marilyn Adams and Farm Safety 4 Just Kids, led for many years by editor Cheryl Tevis,” says Dave Kurns, editorial content director for Successful Farming. “We are glad that the group’s work will live on, because it truly is needed on the farm today and every day.”