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Farmers get first-aid kits and learn how to use them

North Dakota State University Extension, agriculture, in Grand Forks County and Grand Forks County (North Dakota) Farm Bureau provided the first-aid kits and their contents to farmers.

A woman in a gray sweatshirt and blue jeans talks to men and women about farm injuries.
Jamie Lindburg, a Sanford Health trauma services registered nurse, talked to farmers about how to treat traumatic injuries at a session at the International Crops Expo in Grand Forks, North Dakota, on Feb. 22, 2023.
Ann Bailey / Agweek

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Farmers who attended a presentation by emergency medical professionals held during the International Crops Expo in Grand Forks went home with first-aid kits and knowledge of how to use their contents.

It was the first event of its kind that was a joint effort of North Dakota State University Extension, agriculture, in Grand Forks County and Grand Forks County (North Dakota) Farm Bureau. The two organizations provided the first-aid kits and their contents to about 30 men and women who attended the ICE session held on Feb. 22, 2023.

NDSU Extension-Grand Forks County and Grand Forks County Farm Bureau initially met to discuss a partnership on farm injury treatment a year ago, and the event at the International Crops Expo was the outcome, said Katelyn Landeis, NDSU Extension agent for agriculture in Grand Forks County.

“It’s really been a team effort between Extension and Farm Bureau,” she said.

Participants at the ICE farm injury treatment session received empty kits at the beginning of the event and then filled them with items that were specifically selected for farm injuries. The items were available at four tables, where emergency medical professionals were on hand to explain how to use them.

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The emergency medical professionals included Altru Health Systems emergency response personnel, a Sanford Health trauma services registered nurse; Angie Johnson, NDSU Extension farm and ranch safety coordinator and Landeis.

The stations and their contents included information on how to treat burns and burn ointment, ice packs and how to apply them, splints and how to use them and tourniquet material and how to use it to stop bleeding.

After tractor roll deaths and falls, amputations are the leading cause of serious farm injuries and deaths. The amputations often occur during entanglements, Johnson said.

Plastic bags hold first aid kit items.
Tables of first-aid kit items used to treat farm injuries were on tables at an event at the International Crops Expo held Feb. 22, 2023, in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Ann Bailey / Agweek

“It's the hazardous machinery we work with,” she said. That includes combine augers, power-take-offs, and crushing by heavy machinery, which can cause internal injuries that later lead to amputations.

Farm incidents are two and a half times more likely to end in an amputation than any other injury, according to the Farm Injury Resource Center website. Amputations make up 11% of all farm injuries, the website said.

The emergency response personnel at the ICE session were pleased with the interest from farmers in the demonstrations and the questions they asked, Landeis said. The small groups and targeted information encouraged the participants to be engaged with the speakers, she said.

Meanwhile, the emergency response personnel noted that it was more effective to show farmers how to use the contents of the kits than to just pass out the kits without instructions.

I’ve written many stories over my journalism career about farm injuries and the importance of having first-aid kits in farm shops and tractors, and I plan to start practicing what I’m preaching.

“They had really good participation. They were able to connect with the audience because it was a specific audience,” Landeis said.

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NDSU Extension hopes to team up with North Dakota Farm Bureau in the future to hold similar events around North Dakota, she said. Grand Forks County Farm Bureau and Landeis will meet to discuss the event at ICE, if there are ways to improve it and how it can be repeated at other agricultural events or in other venues across North Dakota.

“We’re really interested in trying to figure out the next place to take it, and if people want these kits we’re happy to give them out,” Landeis said.

Ann is a journalism veteran with nearly 40 years of reporting and editing experiences on a variety of topics including agriculture and business. Story ideas or questions can be sent to Ann by email at: abailey@agweek.com or phone at: 218-779-8093.
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