I have one more blizzard story before moving on to spring. It was the last of the weekend snowstorms in March. Employees stayed home since another storm was ensuing, so Mike, Rolf and I were doing the Saturday evening milking. We had weaned a half dozen calves that morning and moved them to their group pen in the heifer barn on the hill.
    We were almost done milking when someone driving by in the storm stopped in the parlor to say cattle were running down Highway 22, which is right alongside our farm. Rolf and I ran out, and sure enough those six calves we had relocated had somehow opened the gate to their pen, had run down the hill and out of the driveway, made two more turns and were headed towards town.
    Rolf hopped into the Blazer and drove down the highway after the calves. I ran on foot through several inches of snowy slush that had accumulated with more snow falling in big, wet flakes. No plows had been by since the snow started and there was virtually no traffic on the roads.
    With Rolf positioned behind the calves shining the Blazer’s lights, I ran in front enticing the calves to follow me back home by calling them. They knew me well since I had fed them the past 12 weeks and followed along willingly. They were lost, wet and cold and had no clue what else to do. In a few minutes, they had run all of the way back up to the pen following me and we secured the gate behind them. This time I tied it with the twine besides chaining it shut, recalling how I had meant to do this earlier when we had moved them but had overlooked it.
    This is one example of how better safe than sorry works on a dairy farm. We use this philosophy in many of the things we do. What may look like a slow and deliberate work pace to others, I have come to realize, is mostly taking the time to be safe, and it often will save time, more effort and frustration in the long run.
I thought a lot about safety when our kids were younger and how the daily running of the farm could put them in danger. We sought to implement ways to keep them safe, and maybe one of the best ways to do it is to attend a farm or rural safety camp in your community. These camps were offered in the summer in our area when the kids were growing up, and I know we all learned a lot about many aspects of safety that pertained to farm equipment, animal handling, ATV safety, as well as getting exposed to medical emergency procedures, fire safety and ambulance. The events sometimes lasted all day and were organized by Farm Bureau, extension, or a school and many volunteers. Attending is time well spent.
But if you cannot go, Google is also helpful. I looked to see what is available for farm safety resources. There are a lot. Here are some places to look in particular for keeping children and youth safe on the farm.
    - http://www.umash.umn.edu: According to the website, UMASH embraces a one health philosophy that recognizes the connections between human, animal and environmental health when addressing occupational health and safety issues in agriculture. Clicking around on their website yielded many useful ideas, such as a farm safety checklist for keeping kids safe, comics to download on animal handling, many materials in Spanish, a five-part video series on dairy animal handling, and much more.
    - http://www.cultivatesafety.org: The website has some great resources, including safety checklists and colorful graphic work guidelines broken down by age of the youth that youth and adults can use interactively online to determine if the tasks are age-appropriate. There are specific guides, for example, of feeding milk to calves, cleaning cow alleys, feeding hay to cattle and defacing silage for older youth.
    - https://www.about.extension.org: This website has much research-based information from America’s land grant universities. It is easy to navigate. Just clicking on animal safety in this website yielded fact sheets on these topics: zoonotic disease and agriculture, animal safety publications, livestock trailer safety, and enhancing biosecurity at fairs and shows.
    - https://www.extension.org/say: Safety in Agriculture for Youth is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture to develop a sustainable and accessible national clearinghouse for agricultural safety and health curriculum for youth geared for teachers. The SAY materials focus on an aspect of youth farm safety.
    Please remember to be safe as spring work kicks into full gear. Another snow storm of wet heavy snow and high wind is predicted, so there might still be time to explore safety resources.
    Jean dairy farms with her husband, Rolf, and brother-in-law, Mike, and children Emily, Matthias and Leif. They farm near St. Peter, in Norseland, where she is still trying to fit in with the Norwegians and Swedes. They milk 200 cows and farm 650 acres. She can be reached at jeanannexstad@gmail.com.