Platte-Geddes among FFA chapters qualifying for Farm Safety Quiz Bowl Championships

·4 min read

May 1—BROOKINGS, S.D. — Four FFA Chapters qualified for the Farmers Union Farm Safety Quiz Bowl Championships during the 2023 State FFA Convention. The qualifying FFA Chapters are Gettysburg, Selby Area, Platte-Geddes and Wolsey-Wessington.

The four teams will now move on to compete in the Quiz Bowl Championships held during Farmers Union Day at the South Dakota State Fair, Saturday, Sept. 2. The state's largest agricultural organization hosts this competition annually to encourage farm safety.

"Farm Safety is a focus of all our youth educational programming because so many South Dakota youth either live on a farm, work on a farm or enjoy time on friend's farms," said Doug Sombke, President of South Dakota Farmers Union. "Farms and ranches are some of the best places to raise children, but they are also work zones where accidents can and do happen."

Mercedes Lemke, FFA adviser for the Gettysburg FFA chapter, agrees. Regardless of whether students grow up in town or in the countryside, learning basic farm safety practices can be a lifesaver. The safety quiz competition is a way to ingrain those practices in memory.

"In rural South Dakota, even town kids come in contact with tractors, trailers, grain bins and livestock. This contest is a great way to get students to think about safety," Lemke said.

The state convention competition involves teams from South Dakota FFA chapters competing to answer questions about health and safety on the farm. Hundreds of people are hurt or killed on farms and ranches every year. The competition helps young people learn safety strategies, in a fun and engaging way, that could one day save their life or the life of a loved one.

According to the 2013 US Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the combined occupations of agriculture, forestry and fishing have the highest rate of occupational deaths with 480 farm work-related deaths annually. Each year, 115 children ages 0-19 are killed with 4 of 5 of them being present in the workplace, but not working.

Cayla Graves, the Platte-Geddes FFA adviser said that she appreciates the contest because it motivates students to engage with this serious topic in a way that is fun. Learning farm safety is important, but doing so can be engaging and enjoyable in the form of a competition.

"Kids like competition and they like a challenge," Graves said. "If I just assign a reading about PTO or grain bin safety, the likelihood that the students will remember what they read is not as great as if they have to think about the answer in a quiz bowl."

Platte-Geddes FFA Chapter President Brooklyn Nepodal said the quiz competition is an easy way to remember to be mindful of farm safety. In her case, it supplements the lessons her grandfather gives on being safe around the farmyard.

"The contest is a fun way to incorporate farm safety. We were all focused and ready to answer questions," said Nepodal, who lives on her family's farm northwest of Platte. "Farm safety is extremely important. My grandpa actually gives us demonstrations on how to be safe around our family farm."

A senior with plans to pursue a degree in pharmacy at South Dakota State University, Nepodal said she appreciates the hands-on learning aspect of Farmers Union Farm Safety Quiz Bowl and other opportunities FFA has provided to her over the years.

"FFA has completely changed my life," Nepodal said. "It has given me the opportunity to be a leader and work on my public speaking skills. And I am going to be a pharmacist because my FFA adviser encouraged me to look into it."

Over the next few months, Nepodal said she and her teammates plan on making some time to study farm safety so they are prepared for the State Fair Championship. The winning team receives a cash prize.

In addition to Nepodal, her teammates include Harper Kirsch, Natalie Severson and Skylar Hanten; Gettysburg FFA team members are: Tanner Eide, Trace Genzler, Alex Tanner and Owen Rausch; Selby Area FFA team members are: Wayde Grage, Trevor Gill, Camden Hirsch and Keaton Fiedler and Wolsey-Wessington FFA team members are: Kelsie Roberts, Ty Olson, Harley Roberts and Keaton Zomer.