The State Ag and Rural Leaders group was formed as a 501 c(3) non-profit in 2006 at the 5th Annual Legislative Ag Chairs Summit in Tempe, Arizona.
The first Legislative Ag Chairs Summit was in Dallas in 2002.
Last year, when we built our new grain system, the dealer we worked with — Dan Zippay, who also happens to be a good friend of Mike’s — offered to put on a presentation highlighting bin safety issues.
We talked about it at the time and loved the idea, but we were unable to make it happen last year. This year, we started harvest out right by hosting a grain bin safety awareness presentation.
We mentioned the idea to our farm friend, Frank Mutnansky, a member of the local fire department, earlier this year. He instantly loved the idea. Frank has a passion for anything agriculture and loves to advocate for ag.
With Frank’s help, we started to plan the event, and before we knew it we were co-hosting it with the West Leisenring Fire Department, and Fayette County Farm Bureau had offered to pay for lunch. Things were coming together!
On the day of the presentation, we had about 50 people show up. Most were first responders throughout the county. We also had three Pennsylvania state troopers and some local farmers. We were ecstatic with the turnout.
We started the day at the fire department, where Dan explained how fast grain bin accidents can happen. He explained different parts of the grain bins and showed one of the grain tubes used in rescues.
While most of the farmers in attendance had at least some, if not a lot, of experience with grain bins, most of the first responders did not. At one point, someone asked a question and another person said, “You know 30 years ago, most volunteer firemen had some farm experience and knew what they were getting into. Today, that is not the case.” You could see heads nodding in agreement throughout the room.
After lunch, we went back to our farm where everyone could see a grain system in person. They were able to look inside the bins — they were all empty at the time — see the augers, and even climb up the stairs to see the manhole they would have to use if there was ever a need. We showed them our emergency shutoff and power shutoffs.