Safety a focus of 2013 Farm Technology Days in Barron County

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DALLAS, Wisc. (WEAU) - The Farm Technology Days has the latest machinery, but it’s using hot dogs, a stuffed squirrel and dummies to teach valuable lessons that could save lives.

In between planting, milking and harvesting, farmers face many dangers that come with the job. At the Farm Technology Days near Dallas, exhibitors show off their latest equipment and best livestock, but a message of safety is there too.

“Unfortunately tractor accidents remains the number one cause of farmer fatalities out there, so we want to show farmers how these things happen and how to prevent it,” Jeff Nelson, a research specialist with U.W. Madison said.

“Most of the time, what happens when there’s a big contact like that, it’s steel that gets into the power lines, and the electricity is so great that it just burns right through the tires, right into the ground,” Barron Electric journeyman lineman Nathan Gustum said.

“What we’ve simulated, unfortunately all too common occurrence of a tractor rolling over backwards. Someone tried to connect to a stump in this case, and the tractor couldn’t do it. The tractor falls over backwards,” Nelson said.

Nelson taught how simple mistakes could be deadly. He offered demonstrations of how a tractor can tip backward, and how unstable ground can tip a tractor on its side.

“When you get tired in the day, you’ve got a couple more acres to get in and you just try to run through a job, that’s when unfortunately, an accident happens,” Nelson said.

In the Outdoor Youth Tent, Barron Electric used a stuffed squirrel and electrocuted hot dogs to show the dangers of power lines, and told people how to safely get away from energized ground by hopping or shuffling out.

“If giving this demonstration for the next 3 days can prevent even one accident from happening, then I’ve done my job,” Gustum said.

“Take time. Even when we’re in a hurry, when we need to get the job done, weather’s moving through, still, take the time, make sure you’re safe,” Nelson said.

The Farm Technology Days are scheduled to open back up at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday and run through Thursday.

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