Jacob Koch, as part of his master’s research, has become Associate Director in the Agricultural Safety Program through Clemson University’s Agricultural Sciences Department. The program builds demonstrations to travel around the state visiting Clemson Research and Education Centers to conduct Ag Safety Days and teach middle to high school age kids about different aspects of farm safety.
Prior to, and throughout his college career, he has been involved with many different agricultural occupations. He currently serves as owner-operator of a firewood business, lawn chemical application business, and a small row-crop and wildlife food-plot business. Prior to engaging in these activities, Jacob operated a small lawn care business for many years. In 2016 and 2017, Jacob worked for Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) as an intern at a Great Lakes shipping terminal elevator in Toledo, OH, and a barge loading elevator in St. Louis, MO. All of these experiences have exposed him to a wide variety of agricultural tasks which have given him a very strong ability to recognize and deal with the hazards associated with those tasks. With ADM, Jacob worked closely with the Safety Division to identify hazards in the workplace, implement engineering controls, and deliver safety training to employees on a regular basis to mitigate the exposure to and frequency of hazards and incidents in the workplace.
How did you get involved with this program?
JK: I started working on this project as part of my project for my Master’s degree. I am also helping to build an Ag Safety Handbook showing guidelines and tips about different equipment and systems found on and around the farm.
What is your favorite part of the Ag Safety program?
JK: My favorite part would probably be seeing the kids take an interest and their expressions when they learn something new at these Safety Days. They’re an entertaining sort and their questions the day a whole lot of fun while still being educational. I also like seeing all the different local groups come out and support these days with as much enthusiasm as we put into them too.
Why do you think it is important to teach children about farm safety?
JK: They’re bright and realize a lot of the dangers of these situations on their own, but sometimes don’t always understand all the implications associated. It is important to show that maybe the way they currently do things isn’t the safest and that there are alternatives to get the same jobs done in a safer manner.
What do you see happening to this program in the future?
JK: Hopefully we can get this program to expand even further statewide. We hope to expand it across multiple age brackets and even to the adult world where maybe we can get something going with a farm safety credit towards insurance companies. Also, with building more demonstrations it can become an even more well-rounded program and entity.
Submitted by Jacob Koch