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Families Score With Safety

Kassidy Harpenau is the big sister to four siblings. When it's
chore time at her family's Salix, Iowa, farm, the 11-year-old knows she's
responsible for making sure their animals and pets are well tended and her
siblings stay safe.

When her mom, Deb, showed her a Successful Farming article
about a Farm Safety for Just Kids Family Safety Incentive Grant, Kassidy knew it
could help to solve a few recurring issues.

"Our cows get out of their pens a lot because my
brother, sister, and I have a hard time latching the gate when we feed the
calves," she wrote in her grant application. "We either have to crawl
over the big fence with our buckets or move a really big gate."

Kassidy was one of 10 recipients of the 2012 grant program,
sponsored by Successful Farming magazine. Recipients are awarded up to $250 to
make their farms safer or to conduct safety programs in their local communities.

Over the past 18 years, the program has benefited about 200
families and communities.

The Harpenaus knew what was needed to solve their problem. "My
mom and I found a gate at the store that I can open and close," Kassidy
says. "We also found a latch that I can open and close more easily to fix
a broken one on one of the other gates. My dad [Tony] helped me put the gate in
and fix the latch. I don't think the cows will get out anymore."

She also used grant funds to buy safety goggles and a Children
at Play
sign to post in their farm driveway.


idden hazards

Near Gibbon, Minnesota, Sherrie Schwecke was concerned about
unsafe manure pit covers on their farm.

"They had worn away from the rust on the metal,"
she says. "The wooden ones have been warped by the weather."

The Schweckes live near a busy road, so Sherrie doesn't
allow her 12-year-old or 9-year-old to ride their bikes on the road. "Many
times they ride behind the barns on the old cement," she says.

Furthermore, an older son is raising show hogs on the farm. "I
was concerned about families coming over to see the hogs and not realizing the
pit covers are in need of repair," she says.

A new metal pit cover costs $540, and the Schweckes used
their grant funds to replace the worst one of the three covers.

Randall and Erin Debler had concerns about safety, as well.
The Alma, Kansas, farmers were worried about the water line to their home.

"Our only water hydrants for mixing herbicides and
pesticides were located behind our house, near our chicken coop," Erin
says. "Both areas are where our two sons, ages 5 and 3, play and do

"All of our chemicals are applied through a water-based
sprayer application system," she explains. "Naturally, the boys are
inquisitive and like to be near when Dad mixes chemicals. They ask him
questions about what he's doing and why."

The Deblers applied for a grant to help with the costs of
trenching and installing a water line from the hydrant approximately 250 feet
to their shop.

In southern Indiana, Rachel Hatfield was worried about
electrical safety. The Hatfields raise sheep, beef cattle, and laying chickens.
"We've been using extension cords stretched from our detached garage to
run a fan in the summer and a light and heat lamps in the winter," she
says. "We wanted to trench electric service to the barn."

Tony Morgan, 15, farms near Lamar, Missouri, with his
parents, Rick and Melinda, sister Stephanie, 21, and brothers Bradley, 19, and
Matthew, 11.

"We have eight grain bins, and it's dusty when we clean
them out," he says. "We reverse bin fans so they pull air down, and
fresh air is pulled into the bins during cleanout, and we wear disposable dust

He used the grant to buy respiratory dust masks and
disposable dust masks.

Sara and David Miller recently added beekeeping to their
garden produce and chicken, turkey, and duck flocks. David completed training
and set out two hives on their Epworth, Iowa, farm last spring.

"When Dave tends the bees, he covers himself with a
full beekeeper's suit," Sara says. "Without a full suit, anyone near
a hive while the beekeeper is disturbing the nest is at risk. The addition of
child-size suits allows our older children to learn firsthand about beekeeping
duties and responsibilities."

The Millers also used grant funds to buy two epinephrine
pens. "Having this lifesaving medication on hand in the case of an
emergency is crucial," she says.

Making safety moves

Near Madrid, New York, Melissa Quintavalle and her husband,
Hercules, raise cattle. They recently bought their own farm. "We're very
excited," she says. "With excitement comes some safety concerns."

They're using their grant to fence a play area to keep their
four children away from the road. They also are building a fence around their
manure pit.

Jessica and Jamie Willenborg of Dyersville, Iowa, also moved
recently. They wanted to create a safer play area for their day care and foster
children, including those with special needs.

"We moved to the farm two years ago, and we've been
doing a lot, but it's costly to make a farm safe," she says. "The
deck would allow the kids to go outside when the animals are in the pasture or
when we're doing yard work and mowing."

In Catawba County, North Carolina, Michele Proctor and her
family provide part-time farm jobs and internship opportunities for the local
high school FFA or ROTC students.

"Our 1964 John Deere 3020 tractor is the one we teach
our high schoolers on," she says. "However, it doesn't have a ROPS.
We've invested in respirators, eye protection, and ear plugs for students."

The Proctors applied for a 50-50 cost share for a ROPS
through their county Farm Bureau. Their Farm Family Safety Incentive Grant,
added to this cost share, reduced the expense to $760.

Megan Voyles, an Extension educator in Scott County, Indiana,
applied for grant funding to update the first aid kits at the county
fairgrounds. They were able to add a kit to the main 4-H building and a second
one at the livestock building.

The 2013 FSFJK grant deadline is September 3. To apply, mail
or email a one-page request about your safety improvement project, action plan,
and estimated budget to:

Farm Safety for Just Kids
11304 Aurora Avenue
Urbandale, IA 50322

2012 Safety Grant Recipients

These families received up to $250 to apply toward their
safety improvements.

  • Randall and Erin Debler
    Alma, Kansas
    Trenching and installing new water line for chemical mixing
  • Kassidy Harpenau
    Salix, Iowa
    Kid-friendly gate and latch, Children at Play sign, safety goggles
  • Rachel Hatfield
    Mt. Vernon, Indiana
    Switches, outlets, and trench line for electricity
  • David and Sara Miller
    Epworth, Iowa
    Child-size beekeeper suits, epinephrine pens
  • Tony Morgan
    Lamar, Missouri
    Respiratory and dust masks
  • Michele Proctor
    Vale, North Carolina
    ROPS for tractor used by youth workers
  • Melissa Quintavalle
    Madrid, New York
    Fencing for play area and manure pit
  • Sherrie Schwecke
    Gibbon, Minnesota
    Metal manure pit cover
  • Megan Voyles
    Scottsburg, Indiana
    First aid kits for county fair buildings
  • Jessica and Jamie Willenborg
    Dyersville, Iowa
    Deck for kids to play away from animals
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