Farm health and safety to be featured at Ag Progress Days

University Park, Pa. -- Visitors to Penn State's Ag Progress Days, set to take place from Aug. 17 to 19, can learn about the hazards of confined-space manure storages and how to reduce the risks associated with entering them.

Addressing the health and safety of farmers, Ag Progress Days also will feature farm accident rescue simulations involving agricultural equipment, including demonstration of emergency scene stabilization and patient-extrication techniques. And attendees can get information about several types of farm safety programs and agricultural emergency response resources from on-site specialists.

All of this will be available at the Farm Safety Demonstration Area and adjacent Agricultural Safety and Health Tent at the end of West 8th Street.

Specialists will demonstrate manure pit ventilation and other safety practices Tuesday and Thursday at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Farm accident rescue simulations involving agricultural equipment, including demonstration of emergency scene stabilization and patient-extrication techniques, will occur Wednesday at about 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The ventilation simulator will show the level of colorless gases that can be in a manure storage area and will demonstrate how to get those gases out of the storage, according to Dennis Murphy, Distinguished Professor of Agricultural Safety and Health and coordinator of the farm safety area at Ag Progress Days.

"Farmers won't want to miss the manure pit ventilation demonstrations," he said, "and we are going to have our tractor stability simulator there, too. It's a new demonstration that will allow people to sit in a tractor cab and be tilted to get some experience with side angles and get a feeling for tipping sideways."

Visitors to the farm safety area will be able to take advantage of a variety of health screenings and medical services. In the AgrAbility and Rural Health tent at the end of West 6th Street, next to the farm safety demonstration area, visitors can learn how AgrAbility services help families to continue to farm despite a disability or long-term health condition.

The following free health screenings will be offered: vision and blood pressure readings daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and skin cancer screenings from 9 a.m. to noon each day. On Wednesday only, free tetanus shots will be given while supplies last.

On Thursday, chiropractic spinal health information will be available. One core pesticide credit can be earned by attending a 30-minute presentation about the Worker Protection Standard at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. daily.

The farm safety and health quiz bowl will be held Wednesday in a tent on West 9th Street. FFA youth compete at 9 a.m., and 4-H youth compete at 1 p.m. "Youth will answer farm safety and health questions in this semi-final quiz bowl event," said Murphy. "The winning teams will advance to the state finals in January at the Pennsylvania Farm Show."

Also, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Farm Safety and Occupational Health Advisory Board will meet at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 18, in the quiz bowl tent. The public is welcome.

Sponsored by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, Ag Progress Days is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, nine miles southwest of State College on Route 45. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday Aug. 17; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 18; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 19. Admission and parking are free.

For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days Web site at

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Last Updated November 18, 2010