Quiz Bowl Championship encourages youth to think about farm and ranch safety

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Farm Forum

HURON — The FFA chapter from Viborg-Hurley High School was the top scoring team during the fifth annual Team up to Safety Quiz Bowl Championship held August 30, 2014 during the South Dakota State Fair in Huron.

Hosted by State Fair Premiere Sponsor, South Dakota Farmers Union, the quiz bowl was held as part of South Dakota Farmers Union Day at the state fair.

“The quiz bowl is a fun way for high school students to learn about safety on the farm or ranch,” said Doug Sombke, South Dakota Farmers Union President, of the competition that asks FFA members questions on farm and ranch safety.

“We hope the information they learn during the quiz bowl will prepare them if they are ever faced with an emergency situation or if they’re working with livestock or doing any other potentially dangerous job on the farm,” Sombke said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1 million youth under the age of 20 live on farms in the U.S. Over half of them do farm-related work. Sombke points out that agriculture is often listed among the most dangerous occupations in America. Because of the large machinery they work with, along with chemical hazards, unpredictable livestock and enclosed spaces like grain bins that hold thousands of pounds of grain, farm workers face many risks.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported that in 2010 the injury rate for agricultural workers was over 20 percent higher than the rate for all other workers. The department reported that 440 farm workers died from work-related injuries in 2009 alone.

“The risks are real, especially for young people on the farm or ranch,” Sombke said. “Part of Farmers Union’s mission is to educate young people about agriculture, and farm safety is a very important part of that.”

Viborg-Hurley competed against the following FFA Chapters: Clark, Wolsey-Wessington and Howard. The four teams qualified for the State Fair Championship during the Quiz Bowl competition Farmers Union hosted during the South Dakota State FFA Convention held in Brookings this April.

Howard placed second.

This quiz bowl is one of many youth activities Farmers Union hosts throughout the state. Farmers Union funds several leadership-focused activities designed specifically to provide rural youth, ages 6 through 18, with leadership and life skills as well as insight into South Dakota’s number one industry of agriculture. To learn more about Farmers Union youth programming, visit www.sdfu.org.