The Boone County Breeders and Feeders fish fry and awards banquet is set for 6:30 p.m. March 5 in the Farm Bureau 4-H Community Building at the Boone County 4-H Fairgrounds in Lebanon. A highlight of the program is the recognition of Boone County’s Distinguished Agriculture Career Award winners.

The speaker for the evening is Katie Stam Irk. Katie was crowned the first Miss America from the state of Indiana in the pageant’s 88-year history. Since passing on the title of Miss America 2009, she has continued to travel the country on her national speaking tour as an advocate, spokeswoman, host, author, branding professional, and performer. Katie is a graduate of the University of Indianapolis with a degree in Communication.

Katie is the official spokesperson for Midwest Ag Finance; a financial servicing company within the agricultural industry, and a Realtor® with Keller Williams in Indianapolis. She and her husband also own and operate investment properties under Irk Property Management.

Katie and her husband Brian reside in Indianapolis with their two puppies Hank and Gus and their daughter Charlotte Bell and are anxiously awaiting the arrival of their second child later this spring.

Katie was raised in Seymour, Indiana on her family’s dairy farm and was proud to be a part of the family effort it took to make it productive and successful. She still gets excited when she sees an Oliver tractor, her Grandfather Hackman’s tractor of choice on the farm. Katie was a 10 year Jackson County 4-H member and in addition to showing cows, was also involved with clothing and fashion revue.

Tickets are available from any director of the association and the Extension Office, located at the Fairgrounds, 1300 East 100 South in Lebanon. Ticket prices are, Adults: $8; children, 10 years and under, $5. Breeders and Feeders directors are Chris Branaman, Don Gibbs, Jeff Jackson, Craig Kouns, Danny Lawson, Tim Luse, John Michalke, David Mitchell, Allen Mohler, Buddy Padgett, Gerald Shelburne and Mark Starkey.

GRAIN BIN SAFETY

At this moment it seems distant but spring is just around the corner. The warmer weather will bring an increased risk of grain bin accidents, particularly entrapments.

Studies have shown a correlation between late fall harvests and grain entrapments the following spring. Often farmers put grain in the bin when it was wetter than they are accustomed to. If not properly handled this grain can stick together and form crusts and bridges which can be self-supporting. This can give the false impression that this grain is safe to stand upon. However it is impossible to tell if there is grain underneath the bridge or if it is hollow. If it is hollow and collapses, disaster can occur when the farmer is sucked into the grain or, worse, falls several feet into grain while the bridged grain collapses over him or her. This presents an immediate suffocation danger and with additional grain on top, it can be very difficult to determine where the victim is.

The first step in reducing this risk is to store grain in good condition and prevent spoilage. However no matter how hard a farmer tries, sometimes spoilage occurs. Here are some other tips to avoid entrapment.

First, determine if there is a bridge. Typically this problem is first discovered when the farmer attempts to unload the bin and grain stops flowing. From outside the bin, look for a funnel shape in the center of the bin. If that is absent then it is likely that a bridge has formed and a cavity exists under the bridge equal to the amount of grain removed from the bin. Do not enter the bin. From outside, attempt to break the bridge with a long pole. Tie a rope around the pole so you can retrieve it if it is dropped.

Sometimes a mass of grain may set up against one bin wall. Again, do not enter the bin. When the mass breaks free it may quickly cascade and bury workers. Use a long pole and attempt to dislodge the grain from the top of the bin or through a side door.

Flowing grain is always hazardous and nobody should enter a bin when grain is in it without a safety harness. Bridging creates additional hazards and this is more common following a late harvest such as we had last fall. Please use caution when you work with grain this spring.

Curt Emanuel is a Boone County Extension Educator for Agriculture and Natural Resources.

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