The USDA is going to implement a youth farm safety curriculum. University of Illinois agricultural safety specialist Chip Petrea knows how easy it is to have an accident – he lost both legs while he was trying to bale some wet soybeans 35 years ago. “I was at least three feet away from the moving parts,” he says, “however, what I didn’t consider was that my feet would be pulled into the baler.”
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The USDA says 2 million kids are in agriculture production, but Petrea says farming is a way of life for fewer families than when he was a kid – a typical farming family, he says, is just as likely to live in town and have Mom and Dad drive to the farm. The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture awarded $600,000 to Penn State University to develop a national training curriculum that reduces hazards to young workers.