Plover firefighters at a "smoke house" training event last May. (Metro Wire photo)

UW-Extension, Plover firefighters to provide agricultural safety training

By Patrick Lynn

Specialists from UW-Extension will offer a unique training event for local farmers—and the emergency responders who serve them.

Inspired by the farming accident that took the life of Mike Biadasz in August 2016, the training will focus on several parts of agricultural work. According to a news release from the UW-Extension, the workshop will address storage and handling of manure and related gases; grain handling safety and rescue; farm machinery hazards and potential rescue challenges including combines, self-propelled choppers, and potato harvesters; animal handling safety and rescue considerations.

The workshop, according to UW-Extension, is designed for farmers and their employees, as well as law enforcement, first responders, and EMTs.

“Farming ranks as the most dangerous industry in the U.S. with a yearly death rate of 20.4 farm work-related deaths for every 100,000 workers,” said Ken Schroeder, associate professor of agriculture for UW-Extension. “Six times higher than the combined average for all U.S. workers.”

According to the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, 26 farmers, employees, and/or family members died in 2015—the most recent numbers available—from farm work-related causes.

Speakers at the workshop will include agricultural and machine specialists from UW-Madison, agents from UW-Extension in Stevens Point, and firefighters from Plover Fire Department.

The workshop is being offered free of charge, thanks to a sponsorship from the Mike Biadasz Farm Safety and Education Memorial Fund. Biadasz died after being overcome with hydrogen sulfide gas while working around an open manure pit on a foggy morning.

The safety workshop will be held at the Biadasz Farm, 7695 County Rd. D in Amherst on July 23 and 24 from 6:30-9 p.m. Participants should arrive by 6:15.

For more information, or to register, call the UW-Extension office at (715) 346-1316 or online at https://goo.gl/bULtHx, or contact Schroeder at [email protected].