By Connor Lynch
Every farmer knows how much can grow from a small seed. So too is it with the Farm 911 Project.
Also known as the Emily Project, it was born out of tragedy. In 2014, seven-year-old Emily Trudeau was riding along with her dad in the tractor on the family beef farm at Tweed, near Belleville. They were rolling through a field when the tractor hit a bump. Emily bounced from her seat, hit the door which swung open, and fell under the moving tractor.
Emergency services initially missed the site of the accident, which was on a field with an unmarked entrance. Emily’s mother, Angela, had to flag down the ambulance.
Emily later died in hospital.
The project was started with $5,000 in seed funding from four local federations of Agriculture — Northumberland, Prince Edward, Hastings, Lennox & Addington — in the hopes of avoiding similar tragedies. The plan was simple; get municipalities on board with putting up numbered address signs on unmarked fields to make them easier for emergency services to find. Belleville-area farmer Jarred Craig, whose combine spontaneously caught fire in the field just this past May, said his close call highlighted the importance of the project.
Ontario Federation of Agriculture member services representative Resi Walt in Prince Edward County has been involved with the project since it’s beginning and said it’s grown more than she had hoped. The project is trickling into counties across Eastern Ontario and has made inroads everywhere except Peterborough, Frontenac and Durham Region, she said.
Signs are now available in: Admaston/Bromley (Renfrew County); Belleville; North and South Dundas (Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry County); Hastings County; Lennox & Addington; New Tecumseth; Niagara; Northumberland; Prescott & Russell; Prince Edward County; South Glengarry (Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry County); Quinte West; West Nipissing (Nipissing District); and Zorra (Oxford County).
In South Dundas, signs cost $75 each for the first two and $125 for each additional sign.
The project has grown in a decentralized way, Walt said. It “just needs a local champion to get the ball rolling. If I had a call to action, that’s what it would be. If you think your municipality needs this, get in touch with us. We can give you the tools.”