Donated equipment such as silos, grain bins, tractors and more will provide real-life training opportunities to keep farmers safe.

On Thursday, June 24, the Wayne County Fire and Rescue Association’s (WCFRA) Regional Training Facility held an open house celebration of its new Safe Farms addition. Among the many donors who helped the dream of this state-of-the-art facility become a reality is Centerra Co-Op who contributed at the Diamond level. Farm safety is incredibly important in this industry and so it was something Centerra is very glad to be a part of. A recurring theme from the speakers at the Open House was “if training from this facility saves just one life, it’s all been worth it.” Representing Centerra were Trent Ardrey (CFO), Karen Alsop (Director of Human resources), Jason Nowakowski (Risk and Safety Coordinator) and Jen Warden (Marketing Specialist). Others in attendance represented donor agencies, trainers, emergency workers, OSU/ATI personnel, Farm Bureau staff, and County Commissioners Ron Amstutz and Sue Smail.

Members of the community gathered to hear from those who had lead roles in the development of the Safe Farms Training Facility at the June 24 Open House.

The Training Facility campus features a variety of structures and equipment on which emergency personnel train and learn life-saving rescue techniques. The Safe Farms facility adds to the already impressive campus with grain bins, a silo, and a wide array of farm implements. Participants of the Safe Farms Training course will learn rescue techniques for grain bin and silo entrapment, silo fires, combustion dangers, hazardous material handling and equipment-related emergencies. Trainees can learn how to correctly use a cofferdam and an auger to extract a trapped individual who has fallen into a grain bin. (Grain bin accidents and deaths have been rising year-over-year and it is the aim of the training facility to curb that.) In addition, people can take anhydrous training and other hazardous materials courses.

The Safe Farms Training portion is just one part of the WCFRA Regional Training Facility’s impressive campus. Other portions provide opportunities for fire, water and other emergency rescue training.

Those in attendance of the Safe Farms Training Facility Open House had the opportunity to get up close and personal with the equipment that will help save lives in local and surrounding agricultural communities.

The facility is the only one of its kind in the country and for that, it has already received several accolades and much recognition from around the country. The Wayne County Farm Bureau was instrumental in raising funds and procuring in-kind donations and grant monies. Jason Nowakowsi hopes to receive and provide training at this facility in the near future. Knowing that area emergency workers have access to this valuable resource provides peace of mind to many in the agricultural community. To learn more about the Wayne County Regional Training Facility, visit