A student-designed and built mobile farm rescue unit to train emergency first responders will be unveiled Sept. 18-20 at Ohio State University’s annual Farm Science Review. Over the past eight months, five Ohio State seniors in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering designed and built the Community Agriculture Rescue Trailer, or Grain CART, to make farm rescue training sessions more feasible. Traditionally, organizing a grain storage rescue training and education program for firefighters and other emergency first responders has been difficult because arrangements had to be made for equipment, such as gravity wagons, grain bins and grain legs to be setup at a site prior to training, then removed afterward. Or, an appropriate existing location was needed where grain engulfment, moving-part entanglements and other grain-related emergencies could be simulated.
The Grain CART includes all of the equipment needed for grain storage rescue training in one mobile unit. “To have a mobile training unit is much better than what we’ve had in the past,” said Dee Jepsen, OSU Extension state agricultural safety and health specialist. “We can just pull it in, conduct training for a weekend or even a day, then move it out and be done. It’s quite a project, and we’re so excited about it.” The Grain CART was designed in partnership with the Ohio Fire Academy and with contributions from a number of agribusinesses. It’s mounted on a 40-foot flatbed trailer and includes a grain bin, grain leg, gravity wagon and other training essentials.
After the Review, it will be used with the Ohio Fire Academy’s agricultural rescue direct delivery training modules, as well as OSU Extension’s grain bin rescue outreach education and awareness program.
“Communities can schedule to use the Grain CART for grain storage entrapment and entanglement rescue training directly through the Ohio Fire Academy,” Jepsen said. “Rescue personnel often request specific training in these unconventional rescue situations, where they have limited experience and limited knowledge of the agricultural conditions that exist. Demonstrations using the Grain CART are scheduled for 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. each day of the Review. They will take place at OSU Central, in the center of the main Farm Science Review exhibit area. A special dedication will take place on Tuesday at 10 a.m., recognizing the students and sponsors of the project.
Other agricultural safety and health topics also will be covered at the Farm Science Review.
A staffed display on child agricultural labor issues will be setup throughout the three-day event. The display will target teens younger than 16 looking for jobs in agriculture and cover the types of training they need to perform different tasks, Jepsen said.
The display also will be of interest to employers who want to hire youth for agricultural jobs, and agricultural education teachers and OSU Extension educators wishing to offer training on the topic, she said.
“Educators can see what training they would need to conduct to help youth farm workers and employers,” Jepsen said. “We have a curriculum that’s ready to go, and we can help them implement it to get started in their area.”
The child ag labor display will be at the Firebaugh Building in OSU Central. Concerns with young people working agricultural jobs came to light last year when new federal child ag labor laws were proposed.
“While the laws didn’t end up changing, what we learned from the experience is a lot of people didn’t know the requirements,” Jepsen said. “They realized they needed to do more training before just hiring someone.”
An Ohio AgrAbility display will be setup in OSU Central with staff on hand to answer questions. AgrAbility is a program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture promoting independence for people in agriculture who want to continue to farm after experiencing a disabling condition. The program works with a wide array of conditions including brain or spinal cord injuries, back injury, amputations, visual or hearing impairments, heart disease, respiratory problems, repetitive motion injuries, diabetes, and arthritis.
The AgrAbility tent will include a display area with informational materials and fact sheets, and showcase assistive technology used to help farmers with a disability remain productive.
“New to the AgrAbility tent this year, will be a mobility charging station for Review visitors with personal mobility scooters and powered wheel chairs, who need a recharge,” said Ohio AgAbilityProgram Coordinator Kent McGuire.
Ohio AgrAbility will sponsor an accessible bus to help shuttle people with special needs to and from the Review field plots. The AgrAbility shuttle will be available at the regular field plot shuttle area at the west end of the grounds, McGuire said. And, in recognition of the Farm Science Review’s 50th anniversary, a collection of tractor seats spanning many years will be on display showing the evolution from hard, steel seats to the air-ride, ergonomically designed seats of today.
Farm Science Review is sponsored by the Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, OSU Extension, and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. It takes place at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center, 135 state Route 38 NE, London.