25-year focus on ag safety
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Farm Safety 4 Just Kids. The organization has promoted farm safety to more than 6 million people through local programs and education since 1987. Over the past 25 years, FS4JK has established a network of more than 120 chapters across the United States and Canada offering farm safety presentations on a local level. In that time, 35,600 volunteers donated 280,000 hours of time to promote safety on the farm.
Marilyn Adams, an Iowa farm wife, founded the nonprofit organization in 1987 after the death of her 11-year-old son in a gravity flow grain wagon accident on the farm near Earlham. Its mission is to promote a safe farm environment to prevent health hazards, injuries and fatalities to children and youth. What started as a tribute to her son has touched many people. “I didn’t know what to expect when I started FS4JK,” says Adams. “The organization has grown and evolved so much. It’s exciting to think about what’s ahead for the farm safety movement.”
FS4JK focuses on prevention through education. The organization has created a spectrum of nearly 100 educational resources on a variety of farm safety related topics. All resources are available to the public via an online catalog. “Our goal is to teach the next generation of farmers to be safe,” says Shari Burgus, education director. “The entire industry depends on it.”
F4JSK uses a system of local outreach chapters to spread farm safety education throughout the country. Amy Rademaker, an outreach coordinator, expresses how being a part of FS4JK has impacted her life. “I grew up in a farm family,” she says. “Being a part of this organization has changed the way I look at what we did growing up on the farm. FS4JK has made me think of how things will be different for my son in a farm environment. It’s about finding a balance while still honoring family and tradition.”
Corporate sponsors and individual donors fund FS4JK. Current projects include overhauling the present ATV safety packet, plus working with the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the Central States Center for Ag Safety and Health, to research how safety needs are impacted in the changing demographics of agriculture as small, part-time farms are on the rise.
“We’re excited to recognize our past success and the tremendous support we’ve seen from sponsors over the past 25 years that has helped us with our mission,” says Dave Schweitz, FS4JK executive director. “It’s a true testament to the importance of the farm safety movement and their dedication to their customers and agriculture. We look forward to building on those partnerships as we continue to build the organization.”
For information on farm safety or how to start a chapter, visit www.fs4jk.org.
Source: Farm Safety 4 Just Kids
This article published in the July, 2012 edition of WALLACES FARMER.
All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2012.