A central Iowa woman is being recognized for her two decades of work promoting farm safety for kids. Marilyn Adams of Earlham will receive $100,000 at a ceremony in New York City next month. The event is sponsored by a car company.
The 57 year old Adams formed " Farm Safety 4 Just Kids " in 1987, shortly after the death of her 11 year old son Keith – who suffocated in a gravity flow wagon while helping with harvest. Adams plans to use the award money to set up an endowment fund for the organization. She says, despite her efforts, too many kids are injured or killed in farm mishaps.
Adams says the most common accidents on a farm involve a tractor. "The extra rider is probably about 50 percent of the tractor fatalities when it involves a child," Adams said. There are now 137 chapters of Farm Safety 4 Just Kids in 34 states and four Canadian provinces. Adams says they’ve had to change their focus over the years.
"There are more four-wheelers on farms than there are tractors now," Adams says, "so those ATVs that the young people are riding…you know, sometimes they get reckless and sometimes they don’t wear their protective gear. There’s a lot of reasons why they have become so dangerous." Adams says roughly 100 kids are killed on family farms every year in the U.S. She blames "bad traditions" for many those accidents.
"If we could make some tradition changes a lot of this would go away. In the next 5 to 10 years, we’ll be seeing more and more tradition changes because a lot of people have been promoting farm child safety very strongly," Adams said. Adams is one of three adults selected for a National Hometown Hero Award, presented by Volvo. She’ll be in the Big Apple 19th, and will find out that night if she’ll win another prize, a new Volvo car every three years for life.
"My brother went down through all the contestants and judged them himself. He said ‘plan on getting that car,’" Adams said with a laugh. "I hope he’s right." More details are available online at www.volvoforlifeawards.com.