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NRCS helps educate youth at farm safety day in Gaines County 

NRCS helps educate youth at farm safety day in Gaines County

Story by Quenna Terry

USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently presented an educational safety program at the 2011 Progressive Agriculture Farm Safety Day for Mennonite children at Seminole Park and Convention Center in Seminole, Texas.

Over 50 children learned about health and safety on the farm and in the fields. Participants attended 12 safety sessions throughout the morning and were served lunch before departing the field day.

Texas Department of State and Health Services and Texas AgriLife Extension organized the event. State, federal and local businesses participated in the program which offered safety tips on a wide range of topics including oilfield education and safety, large equipment, food safety and nutrition, hearing concerns from high decibels, seatbelt safety, all terrain vehicle (ATV) safety, tobacco hazards, electricity and safety around small and large animals.

NRCS representatives Shawn Overton, district conservationist in Seminole and Thomas Hunt, soil conservationist in Lamesa, presented an overview of ATV safety and explained how ATVs are used on farms and ranches, along with the importance of proper clothing, posture and operations, such as leaning into turns and braking.

The children also had an opportunity to learn about ATV laws, such as the legal driving age, not riding on paved roads and the legal number of passengers. The presentation concluded with an overview of the importance of reading the operational manual, vehicle controls and the sizes of ATVs that fit specific age groups.

�This was a great event that exposed local children to the possible dangers of farm and ranch work in a fun and interactive atmosphere in an attempt to help keep them safe,� Overton said. �The kids were engaged in all of the presentations and really seemed to get a lot out of it.�

According to Progressive Agriculture Safety advocates, farm safety is a critical issue. They estimate farm accidents and other work-related health problems claim as many as 1,300 lives and cause 120,000 injuries a year, most of which are preventable.

�NRCS was privileged to get to interact with the residents in the local community and educate the youth on ATV safety. We look forward to providing more educational programs in the future,� Overton said.

National sponsors for the Progressive Agriculture Safety Days were Bunge, Agrium, Crop Production Services, Farm Credit, Toyota, John Deere, Pioneer and Monsanto. Local supporting agencies were the Gaines County safety day Community Health Center of Lubbock, Department of State Health Services, USDA-NRCS, FirstCare, Maximus, Molina Healthcare, Region 17 Education Service Center, Superior Health Plans, Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

For more information about agriculture education, contact your local USDA Service Center or visit the NRCS Texas website at www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov.

NRCS District Conservationist, Shawn Overton explains safety features and controls of the all-terrain vehicle (ATV). Overton shows children the proper safety helmet, goggles, clothing and footwear to be used when operating an ATV. Overton shows children the proper safety helmet, goggles, clothing and footwear to be used when operating an ATV.
NRCS District Conservationist, Shawn Overton explains safety features and controls of the all-terrain vehicle (ATV). Overton shows children the proper safety helmet, goggles, clothing and footwear to be used when operating an ATV.

Participants also had the opportunity to learn about firearm safety, seatbelt safety, small and large animal safety and more.
 
Participants also had the opportunity to learn about firearm safety, seatbelt safety, small and large animal safety and more. Participants also had the opportunity to learn about firearm safety, seatbelt safety, small and large animal safety and more.
Participants also had the opportunity to learn about firearm safety, seatbelt safety, small and large animal safety and more.