Rebate honors young farmer who died from manure gas poisoning
For Hub City Times
MARSHFIELD — Mike Biadasz’s death, when he and 16 cattle on his family’s farm near Amherst were overcome by toxic gas released from a manure pit last year, has spurred his family to help prevent a similar tragedy from occurring again.
The Biadasz family recently donated the $40,000 it raised to the National Farm Medicine Center (NFMC) based at Marshfield Clinic Research Institute and Marshfield Clinic Center for Community Outreach, establishing the Mike Biadasz Farm Safety and Education Memorial Fund. Farmers can apply for a rebate that covers the cost for a portable gas monitor device that detects gas levels and alerts them when potentially lethal levels are reached.
“Mikey had such a passion for farming,” said Bob Biadasz, Mike’s father. “We remember when he said to us, ‘I may not have a wife and kids, but I sure love trying to feed the ones who do.’”
“We would do anything to have Mikey back,” said Lisa Grezenski, Mike’s sister. “Now we need to share his story and find ways to prevent this from happening to another family. Mike wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Mike Biadasz was agitating a large outdoor manure pit Aug. 15, 2016, to prepare the manure to be hauled away and spread onto fields, a common farm job done a couple times a year. While manure gases are always a hazard, the situation was made worse due to weather conditions on that foggy morning, which trapped the gases close to the ground, lethally poisoning Mike and nearby cattle.
About 4 percent of agriculture deaths in Wisconsin are attributable to manure gas and confined spaces. Overall, agriculture has a worker fatality rate more than eight times the all-industry average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“Sadly, we hear about deaths on farms almost daily, whether it’s from incidents like this or incidents involving machinery,” said Casper Bendixsen, an NFMC associate research scientist. “The Biadasz family is truly unique in their proactive reaction, channeling their heartbreak so as to be part of the solution and prevent this from happening to another farm family. The Mike Biadasz Farm Safety and Education Memorial Fund is one that can truly save the life of a farmer, their family, and their livestock. Gas monitoring devices are expensive to purchase or rent to use just a few times a year. The rebate is an incentive for farmers to take an extra precaution.”
To learn more or apply for this rebate, email firstname.lastname@example.org.