County Farm Bureaus Prioritize Rural Safety

Sydney Garrett

Communications Assistant

Through its annual County Activities of Excellence Awards, the American Farm Bureau Federation celebrates county Farm Bureaus for their unique, volunteer-driven programming. The following county Farm Bureaus were among 24 county Farm Bureaus recognized for their programs and activities in 2021 and 2022. The programs featured here focused on safety.

Amish Safety Day – Geauga County Farm Bureau, Ohio

In July 2022, the Geauga County Farm Bureau joined forces with the county sheriff’s office, the state highway patrol, a local fire department, the local hospital, the state Division of Natural Resources, the county Soil and Water Conservation District and the county engineer’s office to provide an Amish Safety Day for the community.

Geauga County has the fourth-largest Amish community in Ohio. Amish community members play a large role in agriculture and this event strived to provide all community members with a better understanding of safety practices.

The 2022 event provided over 400 residents of the Amish community with information on road and traffic safety, internet and phone safety, fraud prevention, farm safety, water quality, fire safety and first aid and offered health prevention screenings.

Rural Route Safety Days – McLean County Farm Bureau, Illinois

McLean County Farm Bureau created Rural Route Safety Days to provide new and soon-to-be licensed drivers the chance to see farm equipment up close while learning about the safety of sharing the road.

The program’s goal is to coordinate safety days with at least four rural school districts per year. At each event, four stations are set up covering topics like visibility, following safety signs and signals and passing safety.

A volunteer was assigned to each station to lead the activities and share talking points. Volunteers were encouraged to share personal experiences to emphasize the need for precautions to help everyone arrive at their destination safely.

FarmDocs – Champaign County Farm Bureau, Illinois

After a member of the Champaign County Farm Bureau was injured in a farm-related accident in 2019, it was clear that there was not a strong understanding of farm practices in the medical industry. To bridge this gap, the county Farm Bureau partnered with the state university medical school to create FarmDocs.

FarmDocs is an opportunity for medical students to learn about a variety of different agricultural practices by meeting with real farmers and touring their operations. That face-to-face interaction allows the students to learn about the health and safety challenges facing the agricultural industry and allows them to ask questions and build trust with local farmers.

The events have increased medical students’ interest in farm safety, so much so that a rural health focus group has been created at the university.

photo credit: Crawford County Farm Bureau, Used with Permission

Volunteers distributed yard signs in the spring and fall to help create awareness of farm equipment on the road during busy seasons.

Farm Safety Awareness – Crawford County Farm Bureau, Ohio

Crawford County Farm Bureau partnered with a local insurance agency to create promotional yard signage for the community. The signs read “Share the road with farmers and farm equipment” and displayed the county Farm Bureau and the partner insurance agency logos.

Volunteers distributed yard signs in the spring and fall to help create awareness of farm equipment on the road during busy seasons. A social media campaign with the same graphics and safety messaging accompanied the project. Reflective safety stickers that adhere to grain bins were also developed and distributed to local farmers to raise awareness to the hazards associated with entering a grain bin.

The original project goal was to distribute 50 yard signs, but the goal was quickly exceeded when an order for another 50 was placed due to high demand.

Applications are now open for the 2024 County Activities of Excellence. Up to 24 counties will display their winning activities at the 2024 American Farm Bureau Convention in Salt Lake City in January. County award winners receive up to four free registrations to the Annual Convention (cost of travel and housing not included) and a $2,250 stipend to apply toward the cost of travel and exhibition.

Sydney Garrett is the communications assistant for the American Farm Bureau Federation.