CASTANA, Iowa (KCAU)– For the past few years officials with the Iowa State University Extension And Outreach Program have educated hundreds of students about different parts of agriculture. This year agronomists decided to teach students about being safe on the farm.

“There was an accident about three months ago in Dunlap where a gentleman was killed in a grain bin accident so that kinda stemmed the idea,” said Melissa Beermann, the Monona County director with Iowa State University Extension And Outreach.

Students spent their day rotating through five stations, each taught by either an agronomist or a first responder. The high schoolers got in-person demonstrations on various scenarios such as what to do during a grain bin rescue and how to safely operate farm equipment. 

“Kids and adults both really learn from experience when they are in the real-world situation. Anybody can read a textbook, look up an answer online, but when they are physically getting their hands on the simulator and learning how to drive it, nothing compares,” said Beermann.

“We have cattle like we raise cattle and stuff. We really don’t have barns or anything, but I did not know there was that much that went into like building and ventilating and stuff,” said Grace Collins, a student at Denison High School.

While many of the students at the event either raised livestock or grew crops, some were new to the world of agriculture and the dangers of the profession.

“We are rural Iowa and we are an agricultural community, all of these kids whether they do live on a farm or not have access: they may be visiting friends, they may be out thinking it’s fun to drive ATVs and OHVs through the pastor, and not aware of all the hazards. So everybody in rural Iowa needs to have education about safety,” said Beermann.

When a handful of students were asked what their favorite part of today’s safety program was a majority answered…

“Probably the simulation, because it gives you a real vision of how it is in real life,” said Mylie Kaub, a student at Denison High School.

“Probably meeting new people, these people are around like at every event that you go to, so it’s just fun to meet ’em,” said Kinlee Colbert, a student at Woodbury Central High School.

According to the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, every day 33 children are injured in an agriculture-related incident. Beermann hopes today’s program will improve those statistics.