By Erin Andrews
For MAA
For Mike Biadasz, farming was a way of life: “Live today like you are going to die tomorrow, but farm today like you are going to farm forever,” was Mike’s motto. Despite the long hours, dangerous conditions and sacrifices required, Mike loved farming and was immensely proud of his work.
One quiet, early morning last August, Mike headed out to agitate the open manure pit on his family’s beef operation. The combination of clear skies, lack of wind and heavy fog proved deadly when the manure pit released toxic levels of hydrogen sulfide gas. Mike was killed instantly, along with 16 Holstein steers from the farm.
“Mike was our son, our friend and our business partner,” said Mike’s mother, Diane. “It is who you have beside you that makes life worthwhile. Mike walked beside us – he walked beside a lot of people – that is why we are all hurting like we are.”
The Biadasz family and the entire farming community was devastated by Mike’s death. In response to the enormous outpouring of support, the family opened a memorial fund in Mike’s name in honor of Mike’s legacy. As donations grew, the family realized they had the opportunity to honor Mike’s memory and help others at the same time.
The Mike Biadasz Farm Safety and Education Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin seeks to assist and educate people in farm safety. The Biadasz family is working with agriculture and educational organizations to raise awareness and help prevent a future tragedy.
In the months after Mike’s tragedy, several manure storage and application tragedies have occurred in the United States.
Mike’s father, Bob Biadasz, hopes the fund will help the family raise awareness. “If I can save one family, or one family member’s life, I will have done my job in life.”
The Biadasz family of Amherst has channeled their grief into efforts that celebrates Mike’s memory and protects future generations of farmers. To support the Mike Biadasz Farm Safety and Education Memorial Fund, gifts can be made to the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin. Gifts are tax deductible and can be made online at www.cfcwi.org or mailed to 1501 Clark St., Stevens Point, WI 54481.
To date, the Mike Biadasz Farm Safety and Education Memorial fund has received $41,116.98 in donation.
The family also said they plan to work with county and state extension officials and the National Farm Medicine Organization. Officials can contact the family through the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin at (715) 342-4454.
Erin Andrews is the executive director of the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin.
 


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