0208WFSHealthandSafetyMRsr.cfm Western Farm Show families visit Health and Safety Roundup
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Western Farm Show families visit Health and Safety Roundup

By Susan McCabe

The annual Western Farm Show's appeal stretches far and wide--even capturing the interest of entire families. One of the most popular parts of the show is the Health and Safety Roundup, which occupies the southeast corner of the second floor of the American Royal Complex, Feb. 25 to 27.

The Health and Safety Roundup, coordinated by Missouri Farm Bureau, will feature a dozen exhibits to inform and inspire the agricultural community to make healthy and safe living a part of their daily lives. Missouri Farm Bureau works to improve the quality of life for farmers and rural Missouri families. The organization's Promotion and Education Director, Diane Olson, says some of the exhibits will feature new information, while others serve as good reminders.

"We know more about healthy living and safety than we actually practice," says Olson. "So some of what attendees see will serve as a good refresher course."

Knowing that family members often put off health screenings, the Health and Safety Roundup hopes to make it easy for individuals to get minimal health checks while attending the show. Olson says the Missouri Lions will offer free hearing tests (crucial to those in farming, surrounded by equipment noise), while the Lions Eye Research Foundation will provide free vision screening. For a small $18 fee, the Ray County, Mo., Health Department will offer attendees cholesterol and glucose screenings. Fasting is not required, and blood pressure checks are complimentary.

"We've found these screenings to be extremely valuable," says Olson. "Sometimes we hear back from attendees the following year about how the screening flagged a concern and forced them to get to the doctor."

On the safety front, the University of Missouri Extension will have information about basic farm and ranch safety, as well as water quality issues. The Missouri 4-H shooting gallery will teach gun safety to young attendees and provide a range for target practice.

Also present will be the Missouri Highway Patrol, showcasing its new vehicle transition from sedans to pickup trucks. The agency will offer the farming community tips about carrying wide loads on rural roads, including answering questions one-on-one.

A sign of the times, the Missouri Highway Patrol's Rural Crimes Investigation Unit will address rural crimes, such as the theft of agricultural chemicals and supplies to make illegal drugs. Similarly, the Johnson County, Kan. Sheriff's Department will feature its Theft Reports of Agricultural and Construction Equipment (TRACE) program, which works like an AMBER Alert for farm and construction machinery.

The University of Central Missouri will have information available about its In Case of Emergency (ICE) program, which encourages individuals to program the acronym ICE in their mobile phones that can alert law enforcement officials of whom to call if that person has been in an accident. They will also be bringing their Community Education Trailer providing additional safety topics.

The Health and Safety Roundup hasn't forgotten the kids. There will be a child ID service, MOChip, offered by the Missouri Masons, which provides parents with a CD of important information about their child, including a current photo, fingerprints and physical characteristics. Several tables with coloring materials will also be placed along the exhibit to entertain young ones.

"We want to make this family friendly, while providing important information for all ages," says Olson. "We're thrilled to make this an annual tradition at the Western Farm Show."

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