FFA Youth Team Up for Safety & Win

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Farm safety is not a topic to take lightly, explains high school junior, Peter Rausch.

 "I know from firsthand experience how dangerous working on a farm can be. I lost a friend to a farm accident," says Rausch, who holds his OSHA certification thanks to a course he took as part of his high school's Agriculture Education class. "It is always good to be aware of your surroundings and be as safe as you can for yourself and others."

 Rausch, a member of the Hoven FFA Chapter, was among more than 80 FFA members who participated in the S.D. Farmers Union Team Up for Safety Quiz Bowl during the 2018 S.D. State FFA Convention held in Brookings, April 14-16.

 Hoven FFA Chapter quiz bowl team is one of four that qualified to compete in the championship quiz bowl which will be held at the 2018 South Dakota State Fair during Farmers Union Day.

 The other teams who qualified include the following FFA chapters: Parker FFA, Tri-Valley FFA and Wessington Springs.

Keep safety top of mind

Each year, hundreds are hurt or killed on farms and ranches. As a grassroots farming and ranching organization, S.D. Farmers Union (SDFU) hosts the quiz bowl each year to help remind youth of farm safety risks and how to keep themselves and those they care about safe.

 "Farm safety is a unique challenge because family members - no matter the age - share in the work. And the workplace is also where they live," says Doug Sombke, SDFU President and a fourth-generation Conde farmer. "For most of us in South Dakota, we like to think we're pretty in tune with what's going on around us. But life moves pretty fast and it's easy to take little things for granted. It could be something as simple as just taking the time to read labels on chemicals or applications."

 During the quiz bowl, high school students are challenged to put their farm safety knowledge to the test by competing in a game show format answering questions like: What kind of fire extinguisher should you keep in a combine? What does Hydrogen Sulfide smell like? Or, what is the leading cause of weather-related deaths?

 "I competed last year and wanted to compete again this year because we had a lot of fun and it's a good reminder," says Jackson Fiegan, a member of the Parker FFA Chapter.

 Like many teens growing up in rural communities, even though Fiegan doesn't live on a farm, he spends a lot of time working on farms. As does Cooper Hainy, a member of the Wessington Springs FFA Chapter.

 "I wanted to learn a bit more about safety on the farm because I do work on my grandpa's farm - and this was a fun way to do that," Hainy says.

 Looking ahead to the quiz bowl championships, Tri-Valley FFA member, Dylan Huwe says he and his teammates will give farm safety an even greater focus.

"We plan to do some practicing before state fair," Huwe says.

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