Following detasseling deaths, farm safety a focus

The story of Jade Garza, 14, and Hannah Kendall, also 14, is nothing anyone wants to relive.

The two teens from Sterling were electrocuted while detasseling corn in a Whiteside County field, July of last year.

Read more coverage of that story – click here. 

It’s a rite of passage for many rural teens, who do these kind of summer jobs on commercial or family farms.

“That’s why they’re called family farms. The entire family helps.”

Included in work on the farm are children as young as seven years old, who, along with their pre-teen counterparts, were the focus at Saturday’s farm safety camp in Galesburg.

“Pay attention to your surroundings, pay attention to what you’re doing and pay attention to what other people are doing,” said Pat Hennefent, a volunteer.

There were safety lessons on everything from ATV, to tractor rollover, to animal safety- something relevant to Andy Bates, 10, from Knoxville.

“I work with my dad on a farm and it’s important to learn the safety rules,” said Bates.

Other participants in the day-long camp learned other safety lessons that could save their lives.

Earlier this year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ruled there would be no citations issued in the detasseling deaths of those Sterling girls.

It said there was no way to prevent the accident because no one was aware of the hazards.

More news from Knox County

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