Progressive Ag Safety Day teaches Mower County kids how to be safe

Published 8:04 am Thursday, June 27, 2019

From what to do if a car hits an electrical pole to making sure someone won’t bleed to death, Mower County students got a first-hand look at what it takes to be safe on Wednesday.

Out at the Mower County Fairgrounds, around 45 students from all over the county participated in the first

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Progressive Ag Safety Day. This summer, Riverland Community College and Mower County 4-H partnered together to host the first-time event with the goal of teaching area third to sixth grade students about farm and household safety.

“If we prevent one injury or death on a farm or household, then this event was justified,” said Nick Schiltz, Progressive Ag Safety Day coordinator and instructor at Riverland Community College. “Safety is a common area in education. We’re hoping to grow the event, present to students and encourage them to go and learn.”

Several stations that addressed different aspects of safety, from getting educated about vaping by the Austin Police Department to learning how to dress a wound from Mayo Clinic Ambulance, were set up around the fairgrounds. There were also ag-related safety demonstrations, such as grain bin safety and tractor safety.

Among the children who were participating in the day included Ty Sampson, 11, of Toeterville, Iowa, and Lawson Jax, 11, of Adams. The two learned plenty about agricultural safety and picked up a few things.

“I really liked the electrical safety,” Sampson said. “I learned that if you’re in a truck and hit an electrical pole that you shouldn’t get out of the truck. If you have to, jump out with both feet and bunny hop away.”

“Personally, I liked the tractor safety and grain bin safety,” Jax said. “I learned never to stand behind a tractor unless it is turned off. I really like how the day teaches you what you do in a bad situation.”

Some of the event’s partners also benefited from the day as well.

Officers Brian Blake and Jim Lunt with the Austin Police Department showed children their squad cars and a display of vaping devices on a table. There, younger students were able to ask questions about vaping and what it does.

Judy Barka of AgCentric demonstrates grain safety Wednesday during the Progressive Ag Safety Day at the Mower County Fairgrounds.
Eric Johnson/

“It’s great being able to interact with them in a positive way,” Blake said. “Many of these kids don’t know anything about vaping, and that’s a good thing. We’re also informing them about it, and they’re getting informed to tell an adult and it’s better for them not to be using that stuff.”

From their interactions, Blake said that he hoped that the Austin Police Department will be able to continue participating in Progressive Ag Safety Day, noting that it was a valuable experience to interact with area youth and educating them about safety.

“These kids are super smart and are very interactive,” Blake said. “I really do hope that this continues. These kids are getting a real education with what’s going on. It’s good to see them, and get their point of view on how things are.”

Also helping with the day were students from Riverland’s R-STEP Academy and the college’s Ag Science Club. Micha Weber with R-STEP Academy was escorting students around the fairgrounds to various activities that helped them stay engaged throughout the day.

“It taught me to be collaborative with others,” Weber said. “There were a lot of different stations for students to learn. I’m glad that they learned to just be safe and know what to do.”

Aaron Wagner, Ag Science Club vice president, also felt that the day went without a hitch.

“We had beautiful weather and it was a great day,” Wagner said. “It’s great seeing kids learning step by step.”