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Nationwide launches fifth annual safety contest to prevent grain bin deaths in rural America.

January 03, 2018

The program has saved lives and provided rescue training to hundreds of first responders across 18 states

Des Moines, Iowa - Each year, some farmers risk their lives when they enter large grain bins to remove clumped or rotting grain while machinery is still running. Much like quicksand, flowing grain can bury a worker within seconds.  

Because these accidents have become all too common, Nationwide is launching its fifth annual Nominate Your Fire Department Contest in honor of Grain Bin Safety Week. The goal is to prevent injuries in the first place by promoting safe bin-entry procedures, such as maintaining quality grain, testing bin atmosphere for toxic gases and wearing proper safety equipment.

Since 2014, Nationwide has awarded grain bin rescue tubes and training to 48 fire departments in 18 states. The Westphalia Fire Department in Kansas and the Glenville Fire Department in Minnesota have both put their tubes and training to action — saving the lives of farmers trapped in grain bins.

“It felt like an eternity,” said Glenville Fire Chief Matt Webb, who rescued a man last year that had fallen into a bin of rotting corn. “But the grain rescue training came back quickly, and it was a relief we had our own equipment. The program that’s out there for these tubes and training is such a life-saving resource in our county.”

There were 47 confirmed grain bin entrapments and incidents in other confined spaces on U.S. farms in 2015, according to Purdue University.  That’s a 34 percent decrease from 2014, but Purdue estimates that many of these cases go unreported each year.

To help prevent further deaths and injuries, Nationwide collaborates each year with the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) to provide safety training. The director of NECAS travels to training locations with a state-of-the-art grain entrapment simulator and rescue tube. The comprehensive training sessions include classroom education and a rescue simulation with the entrapment tool, which is loaded onto a 20-foot trailer and able to hold about 100 bushels of grain. 

“Nationwide created this program and joined forces with partners across the country to make it happen for a single purpose — to save lives,” said Brad Liggett, president of Nationwide Agribusiness, the No. 1 farm insurer. “We understand the importance of the work that farmers are doing every day, and we will continue to make the rescue tubes and training available as long as these dangers exist.”

Grain Bin Safety Week runs this year from Feb. 18-24, 2018, and nominations for the Nominate Your Fire Department Contest are open until April 30. Both are supported by Nationwide and the following partners:

  1. KC Supply
  2. CHS
  3. Nationwide Land As Your Legacy
  4. Specialty Risk Insurance 
  5. KFSA Insurance Agency
  6. David Larson Financial and Insurance Services, Inc.
  7. The Cornerstone Agency Inc.
  8. Arthur J Gallagher & Co.
  9. Ravenna Feed & Grain
  10. Sietsema Farms Feeds
  11. Agri-Business Insurance Services
  12. The Scoular Company
  13. West Side Salvage
  14. NOHR Wortmann Engineering
  15. The National Education Center for Agricultural Safety
  16. First Gabrielson Insurance Agency

“Grain Bin Safety Week would not happen without the generous support of our sponsors,” Liggett added. “We would like to thank every sponsor for making this week and contest a reality.”

For more information about the program, purpose or nomination process, visit or watch this video.

About Nationwide

Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. and is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. The company provides a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto, commercial, homeowners, farm and life insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities and mutual funds; banking and mortgages; pet, motorcycle and boat insurance. For more information, visit