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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Program Promotes Farm Safety

The Farm Safety 4 Just Kids program paid a visit to St. James Church, providing helpful instructions to the approximately 25 children in attendance. Program organizer JoAnn Williams said the group of students was attentive and participated in the discussion. Williams serves as president of the National Young Farmer Educational Association, which has a chapter in Brittons Neck.

The students learned about the importance of farm safety and also were presented t-shirts and school supplies for their participation, she said.

"I met Shari Burgess, the national director at a NYFEA meeting in Washington, D.C. She requested I do a farm safety program in South Carolina, as they have no representatives in our state," Williams explained. As an officer of the Brittons Neck Young Farmers and NYFEA, Williams said it was her community service project.

Farm Safety 4 Just Kids donated the T-shirts and Marion County Farm Bureau, Pee Dee Federal Savings Bank, ArborOne Financial of Florence, FSA & Soil and Water Conservation of Marion, provided the hand outs, rulers, and pencils, she said.

Williams said the program began as a response to the death of 11-year old Keith Algreen, who in 1986, suffocated in a gravity flow wagon of shelled corn on his family's Iowa farm.

After her son's unforeseen death, Keith's mother, Marilyn Adams, began a campaign to promote farm safety awareness. In the process, she discovered that an alarmingly high number of children are injured or killed on farms each year, she said.

"In an effort to spare others the heartache of losing a child in a preventable farming incident, Farm Safety 4 Just Kids was formed in 1987," Williams said. The concern and compassion that founded the organization continues today, she said as they work to fulfill the programs mission.

"Our objectives are to increase public awareness and understanding of the hazards to children on the farm; provide individuals, families and communities with educational opportunities and resources to make the farm a safe and healthy environment; motivate and empower individuals, farm families and communities to make positive changes regarding farm safety and health issues."

Farm Safety 4 Just Kids is a non-profit organization based in Iowa, serving the United States and Canada. Farm Safety 4 Just Kids provides resources and training to individuals and communities to conduct farm safety awareness and education programs.

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