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Keeping the next generation safe through Ag-Ed Safety Day

Unity's Ag. Society continued their efforts in providing important safety messages to children though their sixth annual Ag-Ed Safety Day held at the Agroplex on May 10.

UNITY — What better way to teach children safety lessons then to host a day full of engaging sessions at 12 different stations that kids could enjoy, explore, interact with and learn with their peers? 

Unity Agricultural Society has been holding an Agriculture Education Day, known as Ag-Ed, for six years. UAS marks 110 years of serving the community in 2023.

“It's such as important event. Too many children are hurt every day in North America,” Ag. Society spokesperson Joan Sperle says.

“We believe statistics say three children are hurt every day in North America related to an accident at home or on the farm. Our goal is to change this, one safety day at a time.”

In order to host this event, Unity Ag Society needs to have two qualified co-ordinators who have taken training from Progressive Agriculture Safety Days. The organization also has a host of volunteers fulfil other duties for a successful day.  UAS volunteers help with timing presenters, setting up tables and serving lunch. They spend the day ensuring everything goes smoothly. Sperle estimates between their committee, other helpers and those presenting volunteers could number as high as 30 over the course of the day.

Sperle said they are grateful for those presenting safety stations as many of them are giving up time from work or personal time to come and educate students on important safety messages.

“We had 104 students for the day of Grades 4 and 5 from St. Peter’s and Unity Public School.”

Safety sessions included presentations on Firearm Safety, Operation Lifesaver, Chemical and Grain Safety, Addiction/Drug and Alcohol Safety, Electrical Safety, ATV Safety, Water Safety and Animal Safety. Contributing were RCMP, EMTs and ambulance personnel and members of the fire department,

PASD and SAASE partnership organizations

“Progressive Agricultural Safety Days gives us the tools we need to make a difference in these kids lives,” Sperle says.

“Any child injured in an ag-related accident is too many. The support we get from community members and volunteers to make our safety days successful speaks volumes to its importance.  Kids are walking away with real safety knowledge and parents are thankful we are doing this. Our goal is to teach kids to be safe and healthy on farms, ranches and at home.”

Saskatchewan Association of Agricultural Societies and Exhibitions (SAASE), helps fund the event The SAASE Provincial Safety Day program began in 2012.Since then, SAASE's agricultural societies are hosting over 15 safety days a year, with over 5,500 students attending from schools across Saskatchewan.

“In 2015 over 500 volunteers, donating over 4,000 hours of their time, worked on safety days to teach our children about safety,” Sperle says.

SAASE says their objectives through facilitating these Ag Ed Safety Days are to increase awareness for health and safety issues through education, through partnership with community Ag. Societies, businesses and other organizations that collaborate to promote safety messages in communities across Saskatchewan.

Students each received a bag that included a safety book courtesy of SGI, snacks courtesy of Nutrien and a water bottle from the Ag Society. Presenters handed out keepsakes to remind students of the lessons they were part of on May 10.

It was easy to see that presenters were engaging students in interactive educational activities and helped them feel comfortable in asking questions about the lesson presented. 

Some students said of their day’s experience, “This was fun and I learned power safety things I didn’t know before.”

“It was way better than being in class, and way more fun too, plus we got a great lunch.”

“Did you know we are never supposed to walk or play on railway land and he told us how to safely cross a track.”

Provincial Ag Safety Days, PASD, says on their website. “Recognized as the largest rural safety and health education program for children in North America, Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® (PAF Safety Day) provides age-appropriate, hands-on educational lessons primarily designed for children ages four to 13 years old.”

PASD also states, “The Progressive Farmer magazine profiled nearly 100 farm fatalities, many of whom were children, including the letter "Just Say No, Please Say No" written by a father about his son, which generated more letters and calls than any other in its history. As a result, the Magazine began devoting space in every issue to farm safety and health topics.”