January 2014
Youth Matters

Farm Safety and More!

The Geraldine FFA Farm Safety Day was characterized as “a gigantic exercise in cooperation and leadership development” engaged 123 persons. It included 80 third graders who received instruction in safety topics as well as 37 regular FFA members and six FFA alumni members who helped facilitate the overall event.  

Rave Reviews for Geraldine FFA Event

from Sand Mountain-Lake Guntersville Watershed

It was super! It was educational! It was fun!

These were on-the-spot evaluations by participants of Geraldine FFA’s first Farm Safety Day held in November 2013 in the town park in Geraldine.

And while these assessments were definitely on target, the event was much more, according to alumni member James Parrish, a now retired FFA advisor who helped facilitate and conduct the day from start to finish.

"I would sum up the event as a gigantic exercise in cooperation and leadership development," Parrish said.

Parrish supported his statement with a bevy of reasons why.

Geraldine FFA’s Farm Safety Day was a success because it was well planned and organized. FFA members Joseph Poore and Alex Combs move tables to be used in the instructional component of the event.   FFA safety instructors Dylan Garner (lying down) and Alexis Fowler (standing at right) followed the lesson plans provided by the Progressive Ag Foundation on farm safety. The foundation also provided participants with t-shirts and goody bags as well as furnishing $l million in liability insurance coverage.

Regarding the cooperation, Parrish pointed out, off the top of his head, he could name five groups or agencies who helped with the event. These included the town mayor and council members who furnished not only park facilities but also a tractor and mower; area businesses who donated food items and other supplies; Geraldine school principal Steve Street and his third-grade teachers who arranged for 80 third graders to participate in the project; the Geraldine FFA chapter officers who recruited student instructors and facilitators; and six Geraldine FFA Alumni members who cooked and assisted with preliminaries.

  Geraldine FFA members Brook Rosas and Andrew Fricks taught tractor safety to third graders at the Geraldine FFA Farm Safety Day. Geraldine High School students come from rural areas and need to know how to be safe in farming-related environments. The “Big Orange Machine” really captured the students’ interest.

Relative to leadership development, Parrish noted, in addition to planning the event, FFA officers and their advisor recruited 37 members who served as facilitators and student instructors for six different safety areas: lawn equipment, bicycle, tractor, chemical, itchy plants and stingy bugs, and home alone/stranger danger safety. The FFA members got hands-on experience not only in executing lesson plans on the safety topics but in interacting with the third grade participants. Ten FFA members served as guides and assisted students as they rotated between the six safety-instructional areas.

Chip Blanton of Fort Payne coordinated the Farm Safety Day which was his 17th safety event to coordinate, most of which were for the Fort Payne FFA when Blanton taught agribusiness education there. Blanton noted, initially, The Progressive Farmer magazinesponsored the safety project, but now the program is administered through the Progressive Ag Foundation which conducted 485 safety days in the United States and Canada last year. The foundation furnishes student/teacher lesson plans, t-shirts for participants, goody bags and a $1 million insurance policy to cover program participants.

A group of the third graders, the focus of the Geraldine FFA Farm Safety Day project, take a refreshment break from the instruction on safety topics provided by FFA members. They rated the safety day as a “super” activity.  

Terry Johnson, Geraldine FFA advisor, was elated with the project.

"We’ve worked on it since August," Johnson said. "It engaged over 125 participants and moved like precision clockwork."

Besides Parrish, FFA alumni participants included Sammy Harris, Tim Guest, Larry Shellhorse, Larry Lingerfelt and Marcus Combs. Regular FFA members who worked on the project included Alixis Fowler, Jarred Gillispie, Diana Hernandez, Selene Hernandez, Joan Hernandez, Cody Maddox, Alicia Brumbeloe, Gustavo Hernandez, Hannah Grant, Alex Combs, Sara Phillips, Katie Heath, Danielle Phillips, Andrew Fricks and Brooke Rosas as student instructors; Kylie Oliver, Tate Richey, Austin Brown, Joseph Poore, Cory Hood, Wyatt Williams, Karrigan Martin, Seth Gilliland, Hope Norwood and Peyton Dowdy as guides; Macy Price, Emily Willoughby, Stephanie Jones and Desirae Hancock as lunch servers; Levi Childress and Bailey Blocke as water boy/girl; Dalton Garner, Alec Gibson, Steven Guffey, Jackson Gentry and Jake Bearden for set-up/take down; and Dakota Gilbert as garbage man.

Sammy Harris gave an appropriate wrap-up of the activity.

"A hallmark of the project was it allowed the FFA members to do a good deed and have fun while doing it," Harris said.