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Returning champions Kimball qualifies for Farm Safety Championship at State FFA Convention

Kimball, who won last year's competition, will square off against teams from Canton, Lennox and Gettysburg at the South Dakota State Fair in September.

kimball team.jpg
During the State FFA Convention held in Brookings, Kimball FFA Chapter qualified for the South Dakota Farmers Union Farm Safety Quiz Bowl Championships held during Farmers Union Day at the South Dakota State Fair in September. Team members include, from left to right, Jayden Kolt, Gavin Walsh, Colton Michalek and Luke Leheska.
Photo courtesy of the South Dakota Farmers Union
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BROOKINGS — Kimball's FFA chapter has again qualified for the South Dakota Farmers Union Farm Safety Championship after placing in preliminary competition at the South Dakota State FFA Convention in April.

The Farm Safety Championship, held annually during the South Dakota State Fair in Huron, is a quiz bowl competition asking competing teams to demonstrate their knowledge of farm safety practices.

The event, set for Sept. 3, will see Kimball, who won the state competition last year, square off against teams from Canton, Gettysburg and Lennox.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1 million youth, under the age of 20, live on farms in the United States. Over half of them do farm-related work.

Encouraging youth to think about farm safety is the reason behind South Dakota Farmers Union hosting this Farm Safety Quiz Bowl each year during the State FFA Convention and during the South Dakota State Fair said SDFU President, Doug Sombke.

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“If you make it fun and competitive, hopefully kids will take the time to engage with farm safety. Too many of us know friends or family members who have been injured on the farm or ranch,” Sombke said. “Farm Safety education is one way Farmers Union can support our farm and ranch families and hopefully keep them safe.”

Brady Duxbury, advisor for Lennox's Sundstrom FFA chapter, finds necessity in safety knowledge when working on the farm.

“Farming is among the most dangerous careers on the planet, so it is important that youth understand how to be safe on the farm or ranch,” Duxbury explained. “Honestly, in rural South Dakota we all know someone who has been hurt on a farm or ranch.”

Lennox High School senior Myra Whitehead agrees, as she said one of her neighbors was temporarily paralyzed and has been left with life-long challenges as a result of a four-wheeler accident.

“Farm safety is crucially important because we live in South Dakota where there is so much farming and ranching and there’s always farm-related accidents,” Whitehead said. “So, it is important to understand how to be safe – be aware of your surroundings, especially if there are animals around.”

Whitehead said she enjoyed the competition and was able to help her teammates qualify because she learned a lot about Farm Safety from her dad, grandpa and Duxbury. This is good news to the FFA Advisor/Agriculture Education instructor.

“I require all students become OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) certified because the reality is, whether we live on a farm or have friends who do, everyone in a rural state like ours should understand how to keep themselves and others safe on the farm or ranch,” Duxbury said. “I appreciate Farmers Union for supporting the effort to teach our youth about farm safety.”

Students qualifying for the Farm Safety Championship include:

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  • Lennox: Nate Collette, Maya Forse, Myra Whitehead and Autum Wittstruck.
  • Kimball: Jayden Kolt, Luke Leheska, Colton Michalek and Gavin Walsh. Advisor: Tracey Welsh
  • Canton: John Halverson, Jackie Kreber, Luke Leheska and Jardan VanDeStreet. Advisor: Jennifer Cleveland
  • Gettysburg: Tanner Eide, Owen Raush, Alex Tanner and Garrett Zeigler. Advisor: Mercedes Lemke.

More information regarding the South Dakota Farmers Union's youth educational programming and how the grassroots organization supports farm and ranch families is available on their website.

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