MABEL - Minn, - On Wednesday, students from most Fillmore County and Houston County school districts were bussed to the Steam Engine Park to spend their school day learning about farm safety.
"More of our population is living off the farm but we still live in a rural community, we still drive on the same roads, we still visit our grandmas and grandpas and uncles so it's a really good opportunity to give everybody the same level of education when it comes to how do you stay safe when you're on a farm," says University of Minnesota local extension educator Michael Cruse.
The University of Minnesota Extension, the school districts, local presenters, and local donors team up to make the fieldtrip possible. Local presenters taught and demonstrated topics including tractor rollovers, lawnmower safety, livestock safety, powerline safety, and water safety.
Three Houston county farmers shared their experiences of surviving tractor accidents with the students. The men say hearing from them makes an impact.
"They're speechless. They don't say a word; they don't move a muscle. I think it definitely hits home that we all three are talking real life experiences," says Doug Heintz.
"If we can just save one life, it's that much better," adds Randy Hongerholt.
"When I tell my story I get into some of the gorier details of what happened to me and my injuries and they're sitting there with their jaw dropped right open," explains Eric Johnson.
This summer, older students age 14 and up are able to take a tractor training course to get hands-on experience learning to be safe on and around machinery.