Ohio Safe Farms Facility

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Living in rural America is a beautiful thing but when there is a crisis, it can be challenging for first responders to get there in a timely manner. It’s important that farmers have the right equipment and training for those moments we hope never happen, and it is important that when the first responders get to the scene they are equipped with the proper equipment to carry out the rescue mission. 

There are many fire and rescue departments across the state that are implementing grain bin safety techniques into their training courses. Four counties in northeast Ohio went above and beyond the request to meet these needs by installing a Safe Farms Facility for volunteers, firefighters and farmers across the country to come and learn these life-saving grain rescue training techniques. 

Safe Farms Facility indoors
The Safe Farms Facility in northeast Ohio allows volunteers, firefighters and farmers across the country to come and learn life-saving grain rescue training techniques.

Led by Wayne County Farm Bureau, with the assistance from Ashland, Medina and Holmes county Farm Bureaus, county volunteers collaborated to create a training resource that could save a person’s life if they found themselves in a grain entrapment situation. They came together and refurbished used equipment and items from around their farms or operations, such as a used grain bin that would hold grain for demonstration purposes. Brock Grain Bin systems worked with the group to create a design that would imitate a real-life scenario. This helped them create a training area that is connected to the local fire training academy that provides multiple life-like situations for farmers and rescue units to train realistically.

How does it work? 

Grain bin training extraction
Grain bin training extraction

During training, a person is lowered into the demonstration grain bin until the grain is at their waist. Then, there is an auger system in the grain bin that creates grain-flow around and below the person giving it a very realistic feel to actual entrapment. Then personnel are trained on how to locate the person and safely pull them out. 

The Safe Farms Facility started out as a $1,000 project that ended up being a $270,000 project because of the need for this type of training in rural Ohio. Farmers and fire rescue volunteers now come from all over the state and country to learn best practices for entrapment and farm safety.

“If we can help one person out, that is well worth the price we are having to pay to help develop this project.” – Bob Hange, Wayne County Farm Bureau member 

Learn more about the Safe Farms Facility

Proper training can be a life or death difference when it comes to entrapment. Does your local fire department have the proper equipment and training to help save a life in these scenarios? 

Hear from Brad Liggett, president of Nationwide Agribusiness

Nominate your fire department 2024 
It’s critical that rural fire departments have the tools and training to respond effectively to grain entrapments when they occur, but many are volunteer-based and have limited resources. The Nominate Your Fire Department Contest supplies fire departments across rural America with the life-saving rescue tube equipment and specialized training needed to prevent these tragic accidents. The contest is now open until April 30, and you can nominate your local fire department today.

Nationwide established its annual Grain Bin Safety advocacy campaign in 2014 to promote safe practices when working with or around grain. Each year, Grain Bin Safety Week is the third week of February and brings a national spotlight to the issue of grain bin entrapments to help raise awareness, provide educational resources and share safety best practices. Together, we hope to eliminate injuries and deaths altogether in grain storage structures.  

The safest option is to avoid entering a bin under any circumstances, adopting a zero-entry mentality. Nationwide is proud to be a key stakeholder of Grain Weevil, a robot that can perform any necessary work in a grain bin to help keep farmers out of harm’s way.

As a protection company, Nationwide is committed to safeguard the agriculture industry and its workers. Grain bins pose very serious dangers to workers as entrapments can escalate quickly and are life threatening if proper safety procedures aren’t followed. There are growing numbers of grain entrapment cases across the nation, up nearly 50%* since 2021, so it’s critical to continue to raise awareness of the dangers and take steps to prevent tragic accidents.

Additional resources

It is extremely important that the fire departments or rescue programs have grain rescue training and knowledge, but it is also important training for farmers who are sometimes the first on-site when a situation occurs. Farming is a very rewarding occupation but can come with hazardous territory if there are not proper training protocols in place.

Another resource is the Ohio State University Extension and Ohio Fire Academy’s Grain Comprehensive Agricultural Trailer that travels around the state providing additional training resources. 

Do you have a safety plan in place on your farm or operation? Contact your local Farm Bureau office or fire department for more information on local training opportunities. 

Online extra: YF&R Conference recap

American Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers hosted the annual leadership conference with breakout sessions, keynote speakers and held a Collegiate Farm Bureau Discussion Meet contest. Ryanna Tietje from The Ohio State University Collegiate Farm Bureau Chapter made it to the Sweet 16 round during the discussion meet in Omaha! 

Upcoming deadlines 

ExploreAg Camp applications are due April 15, 2024

Apply to serve on the State YAP Committee by May 3, 2024 at 5 p.m.  

Apply to serve as the YAP representative on the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Board by May 3, 2024 at 5 p.m.

Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
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Mandy Way

Way Farms

Farm Labor Resources
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Ernie Welch

Van Wert County Farm Bureau

Strong communities
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Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
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Jaclyn De Candio

Clark County Farm Bureau

Young Ag Professionals program
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Jenna Gregorich

Coshocton County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
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Jared Hughes

Groovy Plants Ranch

Groovy Plants Ranch
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Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
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Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

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