Sept. 27, 2023

Scott Heiberger


Melissa Ploeckelman


Agriculture Rescue Training set for Oct. 20-21 in Marshfield

Train-the-trainer program leads to successful workshops across Wisconsin

The Agriculture Rescue Training program is spreading the word about farm safety and the hazards that emergency responders might face.

Agriculture Rescue Training, or ART, will be held Oct. 20-21, in Marshfield. Registration is open on the website. In its third year, the training familiarizes emergency personnel with the emergencies they may face on farms or other agricultural settings.

Emergency responders face unique, high-risk situations on farms, including toxic atmospheres, enclosed spaces, managing animals under stress and machinery entrapments. That is why the National Farm Medicine Center, in partnership with Pittsville Fire Company, Life Link III, Heiman’s Holsteins, Heeg Farms Inc., and Marshfield Clinic Health System, is presenting the training, which is designed to supplement basic emergency training.

New to ART this year is large animal technical rescue. This workshop will give participants multiple skills and techniques to safely contain, approach and manipulate downed large animals in emergency situations. The workshop will also provide techniques to manage animals in more complicated situations.

Last year, organizers began offering a one-day separate train-the-trainer program so participants could take the training model to their communities.

“It’s beyond just the training in Marshfield, it’s spreading its wings and expanding,” said ART coordinator Kyle Koshalek, a project manager at National Farm Medicine Center, which helps host the annual event in Marshfield. Folks from around the country and Canada are interested in attending, he said, to expand the training beyond Wisconsin’s borders. In addition, the U.S. Army Urban Search and Rescue School expressed interest in attending this year, he said.

“Rural communities see these kinds of things,” Koshalek said, such as tractor rollovers and equipment extraction. ART has trained more than 214 attendees in two years with 89 departments represented. After the first year, participants began asking about training they could take back to their departments. “A lot of departments have their own training instructors,” he said.

Koshalek is aware of two large-scale, successful trainings offered based on the Marshfield ART training: Cambria Fire Department and Tisch Mills/University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. “Both mirrored our training with a lot of departments in the area,” he said.


Cambria hosts training

Cambria hosted 32 students from Columbia and Dodge counties at a two-day training in April.

“The best thing about this training was the positive response we got from the participants,” said Ryan Hart, assistant chief for the Cambria Fire Department. “There were so many of them that have always felt that there was a need for this in our area, they just never knew where to go for it or who to contact.”

Hart attended an ag rescue class in West Bend during the COVID-19 pandemic, which caught his interest because of the ag-related activity in his area. When ART hosted the first training in 2021, Hart attended and talked to organizers about doing his own training.

Cambria followed the format the ART program used, with a Friday evening session for speakers covering farm-related trauma, grain rescues and a silo rescue where the victim was pinned inside of a Harvester silo, and Saturday hands-on workshops on farm familiarization, tractor rollover, equipment extrication and grain entrapment rescue.

“We also had a local towing company attend for a quick demonstration over lunch with their large rotator tow truck. They set it up and did a demonstration of their capabilities to lift and roll a tractor in mid-air,” Hart said.

“It was a lot of planning and work, but in the end, it was a very successful event. I am very proud of the members of my department that helped with all aspects of the day,” he said.

Train-the-trainer continues

The train-the-trainer program was offered in 2022 and will be offered this year, as well, during the day on Friday, Oct. 20. Registration is open on

Seventeen attendees took the course the first year, which also included the classroom and hands-on sessions with the rest of the ART participants.

“It doesn’t go into how to do a rescue. That’s what the workshops are for. This is ‘How do you organize a training like this?’”, Koshalek said. They talk about cost of the training, equipment for the workshops, where to get it and what you need to think about when training others, he said.

“As an instructor, what do you need to know to effectively train others on each workshop?”

After the pilot session, organizers received evaluations from trainees that they were very likely to recommend it, that the training was very helpful and vital, Koshalek said. The ART train-the-trainer course is limited to 20 participants.

More training planned

Hart received positive response from the attendees at their Cambria training. “Many were glad to have an actual hands-on training. There is an abundance of online and web-based training, but very little hands-on type training,” he said.

Cambria plans to offer ag rescue training again. Following the ART model, they emailed a review and comment sheet to participants and learned that students were trained to remove a victim from the grain but not how to get them out of the grain bin, if that’s where they were located. Cambria plans to offer an advanced grain rescue class in the near future.

“The way these topics are taught, they can easily be remembered, and participants can bring their new knowledge back to their department,” Hart said. “Every farm is different and has different hazards. Most farmers are willing to let you as a fire department come do a walk-through of their operation if you ask and explain why you want to tour with them.”

The Jones Family Farm hosted Cambria’s hands-on event. “Dennis, Jeff, Melissa, Greg, Jill, Morgan and Owen were our first choice to connect with on hosting. Right from our first meeting with the family, they were all in and so excited for this,” Hart said.

Clover Hill Dairy in Campbellsport donated a tractor for the event. Justin and Shawn Breg from Pardeeville donated an old John Deere combine, a corn head for a combine and an old junk tractor used for the rollover. Other donors gave money for the meal and to provide lodging for the instructors: UWGP in Friesland, Wieser Concrete in Portage and Sam's Well Drilling in Randolph.

The fire departments that attended were Cambria, Friesland, Pardeeville, Columbus, Rio, Randolph, Lodi, Portage, Fall River and Wyocena.

Register now

For more information about the upcoming Marshfield workshop, contact Chief Jerry Minor ( or Kyle Koshalek (, 715-389-3786).

Fire departments that send three or more personnel to the training will receive a free, four-gas monitor courtesy of the Mike Biadasz Farm Safety and Education Memorial Fund.

  • By Mystique Macomber


The 2023 Agricultural Rescue Training will be held Oct. 20-21 in Marshfield. 
Trucks (.jpg)

Emergency responders practice equipment extrication at the 2022 Agricultural Rescue Training in Marshfield.
Equipment Extraction (.jpg)

Response to tractor overturns will be one of the workshops featured during Agricultural Rescue Training, Oct. 20-21, in Marshfield.
Tractor Rollover (.jpg)