BROOKINGS — The FFA chapter from Wolsey-Wessington High School was among 18 teams which competed in the semifinal round of the fourth annual ‘Team up to Safety’ quiz bowl competition held Monday, April 15, at Brookings. The quiz bowl, sponsored by South Dakota Farmers Union, was held in conjunction with the state FFA convention on the campus of South Dakota State University.
Teams of four competed in the quiz bowl, answering questions in a Jeopardy!-style competition related to health and safety on the farm or ranch. Wolsey-Wessington competed against the FFA chapter from McCook Central High School. Wolsey-Wessington defeated McCook Central by a score of 185-145, but were not in the top four scoring teams which move on to the quiz bowl finals. Competing for Wolsey-Wessington were seniors Ryne Johnson and Brandon Bergquist, and freshmen Hunter Johnson and John Hamilton.
“The quiz bowl is a fun way for high school students to learn about safety on the farm or ranch,” said South Dakota Farmers Union President Doug Sombke. “We hope with the information they learn at the quiz bowl they’ll be prepared if they’re ever faced with an emergency situation or if they’re working with livestock or doing any other potentially dangerous job on the farm.”
Agriculture often is listed among the most dangerous occupations in America. Because of the large machinery they work with, along with chemical hazards, unpredictable livestock and enclosed spaces like grain bins that hold thousands of pounds of grain, farm workers face many risks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1 million youth under the age of 20 live on farms in the U.S. Over half of them do farm-related work.
The U.S. Department of Labor reported that in 2010 the injury rate for agricultural workers was over 20 percent higher than the rate for all workers. The department reported in 2009 alone that 440 farm workers died from work-related injuries.
“The risks are real, especially for young people on the farm or ranch,” Sombke said. “Part of Farmers Union’s mission is to educate young people about agriculture, and farm safety is very important part of that.”
The top four scoring teams during the semifinals were FFA teams from Brookings, Bowdle, Clark and Lyman. They will compete at the quiz bowl finals during the Dakotafest Farm Show in Mitchell this August. Other teams competing Monday were from Tri-Valley, Alcester-Hudson, Baltic, Parker, Centerville, Lennox, Viborg-Hurley, Platte-Geddes, Deuel, Howard, Lake Preston and De Smet.
Pictured, from left, John Hamilton, Hunter Johnson, Ryne Johnson and Brandon Bergquist took part in the Quiz Bowl during FFA competition at Brookings.