SPOTLIGHT: Ag Educators Keep our Future Farmers Safe

SPOTLIGHT: Ag Educators Keep our Future Farmers Safe

MAY 2020

The current pandemic has required agricultural educators to be more creative than ever. To assist with teaching about agricultural safety and health during the age of online learning, we’ve created lesson plans, resources, and tips on a variety of agricultural safety and health topics at www.umash.umn.edu/AgEd.

2020 FFA Infographic

This infographic is the result of a survey of FFA students that highlights the need for agricultural education.


For the past four years, UMASH was represented at the annual FFA Convention & Expo. Thanks to a donation from CHS Community Giving, Melissa Ploeckelman and Kyle Koshalek from the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety (NCCRAHS), used their charm and cheer to collect 978 student surveys at the 2019 National FFA Convention & Expo. Respondents hailed from all over the United States, from Alaska to Puerto Rico and everywhere in between. Most were high school students.

National FFA Convention 2019

Pictured left: Melissa Ploeckelman and Kyle Koshalek playing Jeopardy with the students after they filled out a survey about safety classes taken in school.


We want to extend our sincere appreciation for our agricultural safety and health educators. As demonstrated in the FFA infographic, this year’s survey showed us that the majority of respondents (37%) learned about agricultural health and safety from their FFA advisors, with livestock, chemical, and tractor safety being the most-taught subjects. Educators are essential for students’ health and safety.

There is still more to be done, however. As shown in the FFA infographic, only 22% of students said they learned about livestock safety in school. Less than 10% of respondents said they learned about zoonotic diseases, ATV safety, grain bin safety, PTO safety, and manure safety in school. This is especially concerning given that the majority of students live or have lived on a farm or ranch.

Read about the 2016 FFA Convention, the 2017 FFA Convention, and the 2018 FFA Convention.