Passion 4 Farm Kids’ Safety

If he were alive today, Keith Algreen would be 35 years old and would, most likely, have children of his own. Unfortunately, Keith died in the fall of 1986 at the age of 11 when he suffocated in a gravity-flow wagon filled with shelled corn on his family’s Iowa farm. While grieving his loss, Keith’s mother, Marilyn Adams, discovered that 299 other children had died in farm accidents that same year. Determined to spare others from the heartache of losing a child in a preventable farm incident, she began a campaign in 1987 to promote farm safety awareness through an organization she named Farm Safety 4 Just Kids (FS4JK).

Today, Adams continues to promote farm safety as spokesperson and president of FS4JK by building public awareness and understanding of the hazards to children on the farm. With the help of several corporate sponsors, including AGCO Corporation, FS4JK provides individuals, families and communities throughout the United States and Canada with educational opportunities and resources to make the farm a safe and healthy environment.

Last year, about 5,500 volunteers donated 44,200 hours of their time to deliver the Farm Safety 4 Just Kids message to more than 86,000 children, youth and farm families.

“Much of the volunteer work and training is done through Farm Safety 4 Just Kids chapters,” says David Schweitz, executive director of FS4JK. “These are usually started, and continue to be led, by people who have a real passion for keeping kids safe … people like emergency room nurses, school teachers, bankers, elevator managers and FFA leaders. Anyone can start a FS4JK chapter; however, we’d like the group to have at least 10 people.”

On the other hand, Schweitz says anyone can order materials through the FS4JK web site and put on a safety or health presentation. Topics include everything from animal to tractor safety.

The program is working, contends Schweitz. “Injuries on traditional farms are down,” he says, noting that last year there were just over 100 deaths, which represents a 66% decrease from 1987, when Adams started FS4JK.

To learn more about Farm Safety 4 Just Kids and any of the safety programs they offer—or to get involved in a local FS4JK chapter—call 515-331-6506 or 800-423-5437 or log on to the web site at

This article was written by Tharran E. Gaines and will run in the winter 2010 issue of Farm Life magazine. To request a copy of the magazine, please contact your local North American dealer.

How do you teach the children on your farm about farm safety?

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