Jarvis, B.1; Byington, A2; Reed, D.3; Shell, B4; Niewolny, K.5
1Extension Agent, Madison County, Virginia Cooperative Extension, MADISON, VA, 22727
2Extension Agent, Lee County, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Pennington Gap, VA, 24277
3Distinguished Service Professor, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, 40535
4FFA Advisor, Lee County, Lee County Public Schools, Pennington Gap, VA, 24277
5Associate Professor, Community Education and Development, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, 24061


University of Kentucky’s Dr. Deborah Reed has pioneered research examining using community dinner theater to present farm safety issues.  Dr. Kim Niewolny from Virginia Tech received grant funding from the Southern Extension Risk Management Education to bring farm safety dinner theater programming to Virginia.  Amy Byington and Brad Jarvis, Agriculture and Natural Resource Extension Agents, were selected to pilot the programming in Virginia with assistance from Dr. Reed and Dr. Niewolny.

Brad Jarvis’ dinner theater took place on February 20th, 2020 with 60 participants at Graves Mountain Lodge, Syria, VA.  Actors were from the farm community and the scripts were adapted from Dr. Reed’s Farm Dinner Theatre Tool Kit and plays directed by Shirley Workman, local theater company.  The evaluations (n=42) indicated that all guest enjoyed the dinner theater as a means of learning farm safety issues with 95% agreeing to discuss farm safety with their family and 86% agreed to take greater health and safety precautions on the farm.  All Madison participants strongly agreed the health and safety discussions following the plays were helpful and 86% agreed the theater message would prevent injuries on the farm to themselves and others.  

Amy Byington’s Farm Dinner Theater took place on February 22, 2020 during the Women in Agriculture Conference with 53 participants.  The scripts were written by Lee FFA Members with assistance from Beth Shell and Amy Byington and the FFA members were also the actors.  The program was well received with 83% of those returning evaluations agreeing or strongly agreeing that the plays encouraged them to have farm safety conversations with their families.  Evaluations showed that 89% agreed or strongly agreed that the play convinced that they needed to take additional safety steps on their own farms.  Amy Byington will be making videos with the Lee FFA Members to share their plays on social media to bring awareness to farm safety. 

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