Farm Safety Day well attended

May 6, 2019

“I grew up on farm but it is different now with bigger equipment and farmers tilling more ground,” said Carol Countryman of Berlin who attended Farm Safety Day in Berlin on Saturday with family members.

Countryman was one of about 120 people who were at Berlin Community Grove for the annual event that included educational workshops throughout the day and culminated with a life flight helicopter landing at 2 p.m. for a mock disaster.

“Accidents can happen so quickly,” said Countryman, who lives on her family farm with her daughter Jennifer and sons Russel and Abraham.

“There is more cause for concern nowadays and families need to learn how to be safe around equipment. Farm Safety Day offers good educational workshops.”

(See SAFETY, A7)

The Somerset County Farm Bureau, 1889 Foundation, Penn State Extension, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and many local businesses sponsored the event. The Somerset County Chamber of Commerce sponsored a bus for transportation of Amish to attend the event.

According to Andrea Stoltzfus, a member of the farm bureau and chairwoman responsible for organizing the event for the past 10 years, farm safety targets an educational program for youth and their families but every individual in rural life can benefit from the day. She explained that Saturday’s event was one of the best attended in the past 10 years.

“Hopefully, the need will never arise to have to use any of this training, but if it does then the background has been given for an individual to make wise choices,” she said.

Workshops included electrical safety, staying safe around hay bales, tick and insect safety, manure storage safety, power take-off (PTO) and auger entanglement and demonstrations on personal protective equipment.

After lunch, a mock disaster drill was staged with big hay bales where mannequins were placed by a wagon and a big hay bale fell upon them. Members Sam Dively, Al Tataleba, Seth Forry and Jessica Leydig of the Berlin Fire Department arrived on scene and called in the Conemaugh MedStar helicopter. Jill Stahl, Roger Wigle, Rich Steel and Geoff Shank from MedStar were available to answer questions about the helicopter and its operation on accident scenes.

“We attend Farm Safety Day every year and each time it is different so it’s good to refresh about these topics,” said Michele Sechler, who farms with her husband, Ryan, in Upper Turkeyfoot Township and brought her children Joseph, 10, and Grace, 6, to the event. “This day focuses on all different aspects of farm safety and it’s a great day of education.”