Revised:  07/02/2008

Press Release for July 1, 2008

 

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Contact: Lynne Richmond
New Jersey Department of Agriculture
P.O. Box 330

Trenton, New Jersey 08625 - 0330

609-633-2954
lynne.richmond@ag.state.nj.us


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 1, 2008

 

NJDA PROGRAMS STRESS FARM SAFETY TO YOUTH

 

            (TRENTON) - Every year there are at least 600 farm-related fatalities and 200,000 farm-related injuries in the United States and more than 100 of those killed are children 20 years old and younger, according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.

 

            The main source of these injuries is from tractor accidents while victims can be innocent bystanders or passengers. By awareness and practice of these safety procedures, many injuries can be prevented, New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Charles M. Kuperus said.

 

            "The Department of Agriculture advocates farm safety education for young people as a way of preventing accidents before they happen," Kuperus said. "Students who are taking agricultural education in high school are customarily taught safety procedures and special programs have been held in the state to educate young people in other programs, such as 4-H."

 

            The first Progressive Agriculture Safety Day in New Jersey was held on April 5 at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. Sponsored by the New Jersey Junior Breeder Program; the Progressive Farmer Magazine - a publication focused on those who live in rural areas; New Jersey Farm Bureau Women's Committee; and Rutgers, the one-day hands-on workshop taught farm children and their parents safe farm practices.

 

            The program was held in honor of 16-year old Devin Yurga, whose dream was to own a dairy farm someday. However, Yurga's dream was never realized because the North Warren High School student lost his life in a farm accident in late December of 2006 when the tractor he was driving overturned.

 

            During the Safety Day program, students visited 10 stations, including sun safety, bike safety, ATV safety, disability awareness, PTO safety, farm equipment safety, animal safety, first-aid, hidden hazards and chemical safety.

 

           "These students took a large step toward being safer and more conscientious people, which is vital on a farm where there are many hazards," Kuperus said. "We know that most accidents can be prevented by following simple safety precautions and those who participated in Safety Day learned the basics to keeping themselves and those around them on the farm safe."

 

           Participating in the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day and the Junior Breeder Program was Nickolas Locuson, 17, from Upper Pittsgrove Township. Locuson joined 4-H seven years ago and is a current loan participant showing pigs, steers and other animals.

 

           "It was a lot of fun learning about animals and safety," Locuson said, "I found out some new things and met a lot of new people."

 

           The New Jersey Junior Breeder Loan Program was established 76 years ago by a donation from Joseph S. Frelinghuysen, president of the State Board of Agriculture at the time. The program is a dedicated funding program that enables the agricultural youth of New Jersey to secure funds, purchase livestock, establish production projects and keep accurate records. The program is based on a promissory note system, with monies to be paid back to the fund with interest.

 

           The purpose of the program is to seek the interest of the youth in the state, aid in agricultural education efforts, and provide a dedicated funding program that will assist in sustaining the future of New Jersey agriculture.

 

           For more information on farm safety, visit the Department of Agriculture's web page that lists farm safety resources at http://www.nj.gov/agriculture/home/farmers/farmsafety.html.

 

 

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