Farm Health, Safety Featured at Ag Progress Days

With demonstrations on chainsaw safety and using tractors safely in the woods, free health screenings and on-site agricultural-emergency specialists, this year’s version of Penn State’s Ag Progress Days, to run Aug. 18-20, will address the health and safety of farmers.

“Farmers won’t want to miss the farm-safety demonstrations, the Agricultural Health and Safety Tent and the AgrAbility and Agromedicine Tent,” said Dennis Murphy, distinguished professor of agricultural safety and health and coordinator of the farm safety area of the event.

Sponsored by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, Ag Progress Days is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, nine miles southwest of State College on Route 45. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday Aug. 18; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 19; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 20. Admission and parking are free.

At the farm safety demonstration area at the end of West 8th Street, safety and forestry specialists will demonstrate farm woodlot safety practices involving farm tractors, ATVs and chain saws Tuesday and Thursday at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Also, emergency rescue simulations involving agricultural equipment, including emergency-scene stabilization and patient-extrication techniques, will be presented Wednesday at about 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Adjacent to the agricultural safety and health tent, Cargill employees will promote youth farm safety activities under the theme, “Best Safety Practices on Your Farm.” Activities will include farm safety mini-golf, a hazard hunt and a safe-play area. Visitors also can speak with farm safety and agricultural emergency management specialists about additional programs and resources.

In the AgrAbility/Agromedicine tent at the end of West 6th Street, also next to the farm safety demonstration area, visitors can learn how AgrAbility services help families to continue to farm despite a disability. Free health screenings will be offered: vision and blood pressure readings daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and skin cancer screenings from 9 a.m. to noon each day. On Tuesday only, free tetanus shots will be given while supplies last.
On Thursday, adults can receive a spinal health analysis. Ergonomic farming and gardening tools will be available so visitors can try them out. One core pesticide credit can be earned by attending a 30-minute presentation about the Worker Protection Standard at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. daily. A red balloon marks the spot of the presentations.

The farm safety and health quiz bowl will be held Wednesday in a tent on West 9th Street. 4-H youth compete at 9 a.m., and FFA youth compete at 1 p.m. “Youth will answer farm safety and health questions in this semi-final quiz bowl event,” said Murphy. “The winning teams will advance to the state finals in January at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.”

Also, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Farm Safety and Occupational Health Advisory Board will meet at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 19, in the quiz bowl tent. The public is welcome.

For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days Web site.

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