COLUMBUS, Ohio -- With Ohio youth among the demographics with the highest number of injuries and fatalities per year for rural hazards, safety education both on and off the farm has become an annual effort for Ohio State University Extension.
For 12 years, OSU Extension's Agricultural Safety and Health Program has been leading Farm Safety Round-Ups throughout Ohio counties. The event is a collaborative partnership with Ohio Farm Bureau, Our Ohio, Ohio 4-H Foundation and the Nationwide Foundation. Beginning this spring, approximately 2,000 youth throughout the state will spend time learning about grain entanglement, chemicals, water safety, tractor roll-overs, lawnmower use, ATV safety, gun safety, sun safety, poisons, animal safety, electrical safety, disease prevention and emergency preparedness.
"There is a need to educate youth on the hazards they might encounter both on and off the farm," said Kathy Henwood, agricultural safety and health program assistant, "because they are not only spending time at their house, but visiting friends' homes and going over to their grandma and grandpa's house or visiting their aunt and uncle."
Special recognition is being given to Putnam County this year for 10 consecutive years of farm safety.
"We've had over 5,000 students attend the Putnam County farm safety camp in the decade it's been offered in the county," said Ruth Gerding, of the Putnam County Health Department. Gerding has been hosting the farm safety camp on her farm since 2000. She expects over 500 youth throughout the county to attend this year's event.
"We patterned our farm safety day camp after a similar OSU Extension camp in Fulton County," said Glen Arnold, an OSU Extension educator for Putnam County. "Ruth has worked with the county school systems to make this the most successful farm safety day camp in Ohio."
Farm safety day camps provide youth the opportunity to learn about hazards and injury prevention in a fun, hands-on and interactive way. The mission of the camp program is to teach youth about rural dangers; however, the campers do not have to be farm children to benefit from the educational sessions. To date, approximately 16,500 Ohio youth have attended sessions.
But the farm safety camps are not just for kids. Adults are also encouraged to attend to be reminded of safety.
"Rural injuries can occur to anyone, not just farm kids," said Dee Jepsen, OSU Extension's state safety leader. "Learning about the hazards is one step to reducing injuries to anyone who lives on or visits the farm."
The following is a list of farm safety camps for 2009:
• Putnam County -- April 14-15, Ruth Gerding Farm, contact Ruth Gerding at (419) 523-5608 or e-mail email@example.com.
• Wood County -- April 23, Agriculture Incubator Foundation, contact David Little at (419) 833-6014 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Fulton County -- May 21, 4-H Camp Palmer, contact Bill Goodson at (419) 237-2247 or e-mail email@example.com.
• Licking County -- June 26, Devine Farms, contact Lisa McCutcheon at (740) 670-5315 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Monroe County -- September/October, Beallsville Elementary School, contact Bruce Zimmer at (740) 472-0810 or e-mail email@example.com.
• Shelby County -- TBA, Shelby County Fairgrounds, contact Joy Aufderhaar at (937) 498-7239 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, log on to http://www.ag.ohio-state.edu/~agsafety/ash/programs/day_camps.html.