I Love the Smell of the Barn in the Morning!

Ok, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. I grew up on a farm but my 4-H experience as a youth didn’t include showing, so it is true that shows and fairs became a fun and fascinating part of my job as an Agent; a sentiment that I believe is shared by many colleagues around the Country. Although many 4-H programs have changed and adapted to also include modern technology and many other new ideas over the years, I think that the connection to the agricultural roots of the organization are so important and I’m always thrilled to see new kids “Learn By Doing” through these projects and events.

Despite my fondness for shows and fairs, when I put on my risk management hat, I recognize that choosing to use our Special Activities Coverage for these events is a great idea. Some examples of claims we’ve seen recently:

  • A heifer got loose and trapped a child’s hand between his own heifer and the grooming chute where they were working. This resulted in a broken hand and required further orthopedic treatment.
  • A goat stepped on an exhibitor’s foot while they were exiting the show ring. The youth lost their footing and dislocated their knee.
  • A steer became agitated and charged a youth participating in a livestock judging practice. The youth’s injuries included a fractured clavicle, a concussion, and stiches inside the mouth.
  • A horse who was receiving medication reared up and struck the youth in the head with a hoof resulting in bleeding and swelling. The youth was transported to the hospital and required a CAT scan.
  • A sheep being loaded into a trailer kicked a volunteer resulting in a severe contusion to the abdomen.

Horse and livestock events are an important tradition in 4-H programs and teach our youth so many important skills beyond the knowledge of the animals they work with. Youth who work with livestock learn about communication, responsibility, respect, caring, and so much more that will stay with them far beyond their 4-H careers. But no matter how much work and training goes into an animal project, there is always a level of unpredictability that can lead to injuries such as the examples above for youth and adult participants alike. While some youth who participate in shows and fairs are covered by annual policies, electing to also request Special Activities Coverage for these events is a great way to truly ensure that everyone who attends these programs is protected in the event of an injury.

For more information about our Special Activities Coverage or any questions about our other policies, please contact our office. You can call toll-free at 800-849-4820.

Photo Credit: NDSU Extension

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