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South Dakota family keeps Jaxon Boomsma’s ‘smile alive’
“If you’ve never gone to a 7-year-old’s funeral …”
Where do you begin grasping the incomprehensible, grieving the unimaginable and struggling with, “Why?”
Jaxon Boomsma died April 14, 2017, as the result of a tractor-related incident at a relative’s farm. Not a day goes by that the smile of this little boy from Yankton, S.D., is not missed. Jaxon’s family tells the story to spare other families the same grief.
“Kaden was the epitome of Faith, Farming, and 4-H. His life was tragically cut short in a farming accident at the age of just 13. The Kaden Kares Farm Safety Initiative was organized by his family to honor his memory by bringing farm safety topics to the forefront of American agriculture. The sole mission of the Kaden Kares Foundation is to prevent farming accidents by engaging youth in farm safety through active participation with family members, neighbors, friends, and mentors. Kaden loved serving others, team activities, and competition.
Farming accidents involving children are happening far too often. As an agricultural community, we can do better. According to the National Ag Safety Database (NASD), the most successful educational efforts to improve farm safety involved farmers and their family members. This effort harnesses farm experience, yet also uses young people’s unique ability to learn with video technology. Finally, the power of social media will be utilized to build the audience and spread the message of farm safety.”
Sampson Parker: Against All Odds
Chris Bennett writes of Sampson Parker’s beyond-harrowing experience and remarkable survival in Farm Journal‘s Against All Odds: Farmer Survives Epic Ordeal.
In 2007, Parker, of Kershaw County, South Carolina, became trapped when his arm was pulled into the cogs a two-row cornpicker as he tried to free clogged corn shucks. While trying to cut himself free, corn shucks around and in the machine caught fire, burning his trapped arm. Parker recounts in vivid detail how he was faced with sacrificing his arm to free himself.
The article includes a link to the BBC video that includes interviews with Sampson and his wife Lee Ann, broadcast on BBC One’s Pleasure and Pain with Michael Mosley.
John Rohlfs Thrives Despite Childhood Farm Accident
On a fall morning in 1974 during corn harvest, three-year-old John Rohlfs was severely injured when his left arm got caught in a feed grinder and was severed just below the shoulder. Rohlfs, who operates a family dairy business near Eden, Wisconsin, shared his story with the Dairy Star: Rohlfs thrives despite childhood farm accident.
While Rohlfs has adapted to farming with one arm, his experience makes him especially mindful of children’s safety. “I worry most about the young ones,” Rohlfs said. “Little kids are so curious, and that can be dangerous.”
Josh Heeren: How To Make Farming Safer?
The Decatur Herald & Review How to make farming Safer? Start talking about safety (29 August 2018) explains why farmers sharing their stories about safety is key to raising awareness and preventing injuries. The article is one in a multi-media Herald & Review Special Report: Safety on the small farm.
After Josh Heeren’s death, several other farmers told his father that they’d had similar experiences. If his son had heard those stories, either through word of mouth or in a news article, Lee Heeren is confident that the accident would not have happened.
Farmers need to talk about their close calls, he said, and share what they learn about safety.
“You can get away with doing something a certain way maybe 99 times out of a hundred,” he said. “But, sometime, something is going to happen.”
Gary Mies: Opioid Addition
Staff at The High Plains Journal spent weeks finding sources and researching the opioid crisis and its effects on their readers and communities. The stories they’ve written – both heart breaking and hopeful – are found in a special series, Power of the Pill (25 June 2018).
In one of the stories, dairy farmer Gary Mies, of Garden Plain, KS, tells of his son’s opioid addiction, along with his own.
Ginnie Peters and John Blaske: Why Are America’s Farmers Killing Themselves?
Debbie Weingarten’s article in The Guardian (6 December 2017) shares powerful stories of Ginnie Peters (Iowa) and John Blaske (Kansas), farmers who have been affected by or considered suicide.
A follow-up article (12 December 2017) describes the overwhelming response to the initial article and it includes resource helplines.
SILO: Edge of the Real World
SILO: Edge of the Real World is a short documentary film that is making a big impact, raising awareness of the risks and rewards of grain farming. It features young farmers Adam Fox and Clay Althoff (Indiana). The film’s website describes grain entrapment hazards and includes links on grain handling safety.
Health and Safety Authority (HSA): Survivor Stories
Ireland’s Health and Safety Authority (HSA) Survivor Stories is a compilation of video stories presenting real farmers telling their own farm accident stories, from bull attacks to combine harvester entanglements, and more. Their hope is that you can learn from their experiences and take the simple steps that will make your farm safer. The website includes tools for risk assessment and safety resources. Their YouTube channel – farmaccidents – houses over 30 video stories.