February 3, 2011

Students have fun learning about farm safety

By Michael Johnson, Editor

Jeremy Haugen, parts manager at the Washburn RDO Equipment, started up a John Deere tractor in the building’s service bay and a dozen excited first graders watched as he engaged the power take-off (PTO). A test dummy filled with plastic bags was instantly pulled into the 1,000-rpm shaft. Bags flew as the test dummy became twisted around the shaft. The students were in awe at the power of the machine. "That was freaky," an Underwood student said. But one of the adults instructing the students, Katie Heger, explained that as freaky as that was, it can all be avoided if proper safety precautions are followed. In fact, farming can be a rather fun time when the risks are eliminated. First-grade students from Washburn, Underwood and Turtle Lake made a trip to RDO in Washburn to learn how to stay safe around farm machinery and what to do in case of emergency. "Fifty percent of farm accidents come from those who did not grow up on the farm," said Steven Heger, a member of the Young Farmers and Ranchers of the North Dakota Farm Bureau. He and his wife Katie decided to take part in this, the second annual Farm Safety Day at RDO, in order to do something community oriented.

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