West Central Food and Fitness 4-H club members Kenzie Squires, Rachel Walenceus, Mary McDonough, and Lauren Fink recently delivered “Take a Break Bags” to area farmers during the busy harvest season.
The bags are part of a county-wide effort to support farm safety. Materials in the bags were donated from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Fayette County, Fayette County Dairy Promotion and Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-CASH).
Bags were also distributed by the Oelwein, North Fayette Valley and Starmont FFA Chapters across the 20 townships in Fayette County – seventy-five bags total.
The bags included hearing protection, a mini first aid kit, a particulate filtering disposable respirator, magnetic picture frame, safety tips and information, milk chugs, bottled water, locally grown apples, mini candy bars and Extension Centennial cookies. The bags were packed by the NFV Middle School FFA members. Combined, all of the items encourage general farm safety; however, the special one-on-one delivery of these bags to farmers in the fields while they are working is what makes the project unique.
The farmers who received the bags were very appreciative to the group’s efforts. “Despite the cool temperatures, rain and sometimes sleet showers, I feel the 4-H and FFA members warmed the farmers hearts by the generosity shown”, said Michele Kelly, Fayette County Extension Youth Coordinator.
”The project gives farmers five minutes to stop, stretch, have a snack, talk to young people and take the bags with them for long term safety as well. It’s been great for the 4-H and FFA members to get to know their neighbors and people they pass on the roads many times but don’t actually ever really talk to,” said Deb Kahler, Office Manager at the Fayette County Extension.
Plans are already in the works to expand the project to include more farmers next year. For more information about how you can join this project contact Deb at the Fayette County Extension Office, 563-425-3331 or firstname.lastname@example.org.