HURON — Putting their farm safety knowledge to the test, four South Dakota FFA chapters competed in the Team Up for Safety Quiz Bowl Championship Sept. 4, during South Dakota Farmers Union Day at the State Fair in Huron.
Kimball FFA Chapter won the quiz bowl. Team members include Tyler Leheska, Colton Michalek, Jayden Kott and Synch Ness. Their FFA adviser is Tracey Walsh. Each member receives a monetary prize.
“This quiz bowl is a fun way to make youth aware of farm safety and educate them on how to keep themselves and their friends safe,” explains Doug Sombke, SDFU President and fourth-generation Conde farmer. “As an organization, South Dakota Farmers Union (SDFU) is dedicated to supporting family farmers and rural communities. We invest in keeping our rural youth and families safe.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1 million youth under the age of 20 live on farms in the U.S. Over half of them do farm-related work. Sombke points out that agriculture is often listed among the most dangerous occupations in America.
Agriculture workers face many risks because of the large machinery they work with, along with chemical hazards, unpredictable livestock and enclosed spaces like grain bins that hold thousands of pounds of grain.
“Just the simple fact that most farms in South Dakota are family farms, means many South Dakota youth either live on farms or have friends who do,” Sombke says. “This quiz bowl helps increase awareness of dangers and engages youth with information about how they can stay safe and protect others.”
Kimball is one of four teams to qualify for the championship quiz bowl during the South Dakota State FFA Convention held in April on the campus of South Dakota State University. Other qualifying teams include Beresford, Hoven and Parker.
Creating an opportunity for youth to focus on farm safety outside of her classroom is the reason FFA Adviser and Beresford Agriculture Education Teacher, Bridget Twedt encourages students to participate in the SDFU Farm Safety Quiz Bowl.
“Every opportunity students have to put what they learn in the classroom into practice is a win,” says Twedt, adding that the contest underscores the importance of farm safety. “This contest shows students that, ‘Hey, it’s not just Mrs. Twedt who wants us to learn this. The reality is, we need to know this safety stuff.’”
In addition to the annual Team Up for Safety Quiz Bowl and farm safety education implemented into the curriculum of Farmers Union summer camps, Farmers Union invested in and designed a customized Farm Safety Trailer. This Farm Safety Trailer is at the State Fair engaging youth and families in fun, farm safety education.
“The hands-on nature of the Farm Safety Trailer allows us to make the message of farm safety real,” explains Rocky Forman, SDFU Member Services Coordinator.
To date, more than 7,000 South Dakota youth have engaged with the safety trailer. To learn more about Farmers Union Farm Safety Trailer or other youth education opportunities, visit www.sdfu.org.