As Husker Harvest Days visitors roam the farm show this week, they will see large equipment and large structures, such as grain bins.
While impressive to view, the machinery and grain bins are also dangerous. Each year lives are lost on farms due to entrapment in grain bins.
Husker Harvest Days visitors will have an opportunity to see a trailer of a feature film, “SILO,” that deals with grain entrapment.
According to Ellen Duysen, community outreach specialist for CS-CASH, the movie is an effort to raise awareness about farm safety using a combination of cinema and education.
“The movie ‘SILO’ provides a fresh approach to engaging audiences to talk about farm safety,” Duysen said
The project is a joint effort of the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (CS-CASH) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, the Grain Handling Safety Coalition (GHSC) and Sukup Manufacturing Co.
Sam Goldberg, the movie’s producer, said he is proud to partner with these organizations.
“The film, at its core, is about community and what happens to people when an accident occurs,” Goldberg said. “They have to work together to get through it.”
He said the 70-minute film follows an 18-year-old boy who gets trapped in a grain bin and has to be rescued before he “drowns in corn.”
“It is a day in the life of a farm town going through a very traumatic incident,” Goldberg said.
The film was directed by Marshall Burnet, who was inspired by an NRP radio report about grain entrapment.
Goldberg said Burnet wanted to tell of rural people authentically. The movie was filmed last summer in Kentucky and Iowa.
“We are now releasing it at these large farm shows and small communities around the country,” he said.
Instead of releasing the movie in theaters, Goldberg said he wanted to release it first in small communities. That is because the film is about small towns.
He said the project came about through the help of small communities and rural fire-rescue departments.
The plan is to show the film in the rural communities and then open up a dialogue with the audience about grain handling safety.
“As a city kid, I did not have an appreciation of what farmers go through to put out a crop and fuel our planet,” said Goldberg, who is from New York City.
He said the tag line of the film is “Feeding the world comes at a cost.”
“There are financial costs, there are anxiety costs, there are mental health costs, and there are safety costs,” Goldberg said. “We hope to educate around safety and to give people in big cities an appreciation of what it takes for someone to get this done and perform an important duty to the planet.”
The hospitality tent will host exhibits from CS-CASH, GHSC, and “SILO.” Visitors can participate in hands-on activities and learn safety and health tips. Along with the movie trailer, information will be available to visitors on how they can host a “SILO” film screening in their community.
Duysen said the “bottom line is that we want everybody to go home safe and healthy at the end of the day,”
“We have many, many tragedies involving grain handling,” she said. “It can be from engulfment to long-term effects caused by respiratory disease from continuous grain dust exposures. These are the things we need to talk about to our farmers and ranchers. They work around grain, especially in grain bins where these tragedies occur. It is about keeping people safe and healthy.”
Duysen said the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha has been in existence for nine years.
“Our mission is to reduce injuries and fatalities in agricultural workers,” she said. “We do that through research and outreach and prevention measures.”
Duysen said the parties involved with the project want to use the film to promote safety.
“This movie gives out information about not only grain handling safety, but our aging population, she said. “The movie talks about the stress that farmers face. Everyone is always in a hurry. We are always trying to get things done. If you are stressed in other ways, as well, this can end in tragedy.”
Duysen said the movie brings up a lot of subjects in creating a dialogue to talk to farmers about what they saw in it.
“It is telling a story about how people can stay safe,” she said.
With harvest about to start, Duysen said there are a lot of stress factors with trade and income and weather.
“They are coming into a harvest season after a spring that was historical when it came to flooding and losses,” she said. “We need to be very sensitive about that and understand and do a lot of talking.”
In collaboration with Sukup Manufacturing Co., several free safety training sessions also are available at Husker Harvest Days. On Wednesday, there will be half-hour sessions presented at the Sukup exhibit at 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Also, a session on preventing grain bin entry hazards will be presented at 1 p.m. on Thursday in the hospitality tent. Participants will receive free safety gear as well as a chance to win larger safety-related prizes.
A free screening of “SILO” will take place at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the Sukup Manufacturing exhibit.
Organizations and communities who would like to sponsor a showing of “SILO” can call (855) 600-SILO or email Info@SiloTheFilm.org.
For more information about the movie, visit SiloTheFilm.com.
For more information, free resources or to schedule training, visit grainsafety.org.