Submitted by Alberta Agriculture
Growing up on a farm allows many young Albertans the chance to cultivate a love for agriculture at an early age. It’s a way of life that can yield wonderful experiences for children. However, it’s important to acknowledge and address the inherent dangers and risks that are associated with living and working on a farm.
Educating children and youth about potential dangers and the consequences of unsafe behaviours can go a long way to ensuring the farm remains a great place to live, play, and grow. A popular approach to promote farm safety awareness and education among children and youth is to organize a farm safety day camp.
“These community-based events are typically organized and offered through local schools or community organizations,” says Janice Donkers, farm safety youth coordinator for Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “In most farm safety day camps, children move in small groups through a number of stations or sessions where they learn about specific safety topics, such as equipment, chemical, or livestock safety. Presentations are typically set between 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the age and the attention span of the children.”
Farm safety day camp organizers are able to customize the sessions based on what works best for their farm families. They can educate about topics that have made an impact on their community, such as the dangers of flowing grain or ATV safety. The format of a typical farm safety day camp allows participants the opportunity to enjoy the atmosphere of a camp-like setting while also learning valuable farm safety knowledge.
For anyone interested in organizing a farm safety day camp, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s Farm Safety Program offers a comprehensive day camp planning manual. “The manual provides organizers an easy step-by-step guide for planning a customized day camp. Everything from tips on how to secure volunteers to fun and engaging presentations are offered in this comprehensive manual to ensure the success of your event!” says Donkers.
In addition, the Alberta Farm Safety Program offers a variety of interactive farm safety displays and resources, including helmet safety displays, blind spot demonstrations, and animal safety activity booklets. Resources and displays are designed to elevate children’s learning experience and can be ordered free of charge by emailing email@example.com.
For more information about available farm safety resources and interactive displays please visit the Alberta Farm Safety Program website at
Farmer Pesticide Certification
The Ag-Info Centre is fielding more requests for the Farmer Pesticide Certificate Program (http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/prm12233) for renewals or issuing new certificates, and grain beetles are the reason why.
“We see it almost every year in Southern Alberta, but it’s creeping up to Central Alberta, too,” says Harry Brook, crop specialist at the Ag-Info Centre. “That is telling me that people are taking their grain to the elevator and having it turned back because there are live insects in the bin and the truckload of grain.”
There are several ways to deal with insects such as grain beetles. The Farmer Pesticide Certificate provides information on effective and safe use of pesticides. An endorsement is needed to access the grain fumigant Phostoxin.
“But, it’s dangerous which means there are a lot of safety issues around using it,” explains Brook. “Once it is in the bin, you have to seal it off. And, it needs temperatures in the grain bin of 12 to 15 C or better before it will activate. If it is colder than that, you can’t use Phostoxin. It is not effective, and it can be dangerous because those pellets then don’t break down. It could be an issue later when you’re taking the grain to the elevator.” However, this current stretch of cold weather provides one of the easiest ways to deal with grain beetles in a bin.
“When it gets down to -20 C, take your grain with the grain beetles in it, and aerate it down to -20 C. Keep it at that temperature for two weeks, and you will effectively kill off all insects in that bin,” adds Brook. “Aeration is effective under cold conditions, as it freeze dries the beetles. If the temperatures are only -15 C, keep it down for three or four weeks, and that will kill them as well. The warmer it gets above -20 C, the longer it takes to kill them, but it does. It is one of the few effective and simple means to control the beetles.”