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Program teaches farm safety to youths

ADRIAN -- If there is one phrase students at Adrian Elementary School went home repeating Tuesday, it was, "Stay away to stay alive." Third- through fifth-graders in the school took part in Nobles County Farm Bureau's Farm Safety Day programming ...

ADRIAN -- If there is one phrase students at Adrian Elementary School went home repeating Tuesday, it was, "Stay away to stay alive."

Third- through fifth-graders in the school took part in Nobles County Farm Bureau's Farm Safety Day programming Tuesday morning, attending sessions on electricity, sun protection, gun safety, bicycle safety, farm implement safety and animal safety.

"We're coming into a very busy time with fall harvest," said Allen Wolf, a farmer from rural Adrian who demonstrated safety around farm equipment and lawn mowers.

Wolf urged students to stay away from moving farm implements and stay off equipment parked in the farm yard.

"A lot of augers and grain carts (will be running)," he said. "As kids, you just need to stay back and let your parents take care of it."

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The message was taken to heart for students like fourth- grader Kaylee Turner. In the process of moving to a farm, she said it was important to learn to stay away from tractors.

"There's a lot of dangerous things that could happen," she said.

Turner's classmates learned it's possible for their pets to transmit some diseases to humans, that sunscreen should be applied before going outside on a sunny day, and that kids shouldn't climb into a wagon full of grain because they can get sucked in and suffocate, among other things.

Nobles County Farm Bureau has sponsored the Farm Safety Day for many years, and now alternates presentations between Adrian, Brewster and Worthington schools. The program gets students out of the classroom to learn important -- even life-saving -- tips for living on or visiting a farm.

Perhaps the most popular of the demonstrations Tuesday was Nobles Cooperative Electric's program on electric safety. Led by member services director Bruce Barber and master electrician Dick Jonas, the program showed students what can happen if they come in contact with power lines.

The duo had a farm scene display complete with power lines running on 7,500 volts of electrical current. The typical farm is powered on 7,200-volt lines, Barber said.

With their hands covered in sets of rubber and leather gloves, Barber and Jonas demonstrated what happens when a kite gets entangled in power lines. At one point, string representing the kite caught on fire and was quickly blown out.

"Anytime your kite gets close to a power line, you should let go," Barber said as the alternative -- electrocution -- was demonstrated He told students that even though they can't see electricity, they need to watch out for its dangers.

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If a tractor comes in contact with power lines, Barber told students they should jump as far away from the tractor as possible, as simply stepping off the tractor would serve as a grounding for the electrical current and result in electrocution. Once someone has jumped clear of the dangerous situation, he said the individual should shuffle his or her feet on the ground for several yards.

Fourth-grader Theron Miller said the electricity safety program was his favorite of the day.

"The most important thing I learned today was to stay away from electrical stuff because you could get shocked or sapped and you could die," Miller said.

National Farm Safety and Health Week kicks off this Sunday and continues through Sept. 23.

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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