Author Grace Speare advised “the more we give of anything, the more we shall get back.” In rural communities, helping others is a lifestyle and not a single act. This mindset is especially evident in a crisis situation. Farming is the nation’s most dangerous industry.  Nationwide, over 100 children die yearly in farm related incidents.  With planting season approaching, tractors and farmers will be out in full swing. Now is the time to consider safety for yourself and your family. Learning what resources are available is an great to start.

Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, IL developed the Center of Rural Health and Farm Safety in 1991. The center holds one key objective:  provide education to farmers and their families to prevent injuries and save lives. Amy Rademaker, Rural Health and Farm Safety Specialist at Carle Hospital, aims to increase healthcare knowledge in rural populations. Through school programs and community outreach, Amy teaches thousands of people yearly.

As a previous intern for Amy and the Center of Rural Health and Farm Safety, I helped with a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day at Gifford Elementary School teaching third, fourth, and fifth grade students about hidden hazards. According to the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, the leading sources of fatal injuries are caused by machinery, motor vehicles and drowning. My purpose was to hone in on injuries potentially caused by machinery. I taught children about pinch points and emphasized the importance of familiarizing oneself with equipment. I simulated an accident by running a hotdog on a stick through a mock gear system. Seeing the marred hotdog disturbed the children. The purpose of reaching out to rural children is to impress the importance of safe and healthy behavior and prevent fatal accidents.

Gifford Safety Day 9.7.12 010

Teaching the future agriculture leaders about prevention and proper response in a crisis will save lives. Farm Safety for Just Kids, a non-profit organization, strives to achieve this goal. They serve millions of rural families yearly across the nation through outreach coordinators and local chapters. They want to protect the next generation of farmers by presenting research based health and safety facts.


Helping others is one of the greatest gifts we can give. With generational farming being the norm in most communities, it is vital that we teach safety practices to our future farmers. When we serve our families safe methods, we give them a lifetime of healthy practices. In the end, we sow a safer, brighter future for our families.

How do you practice safety with your family? Add a comment below to share with us. How you teach health behaviors could be the answer another family is looking for.

ava carmienAva Carmien
Champaign County

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