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SPOTLIGHT: Celebrating National Rural Health Day in the Classroom

National Rural Health Day is November 17, 2022 - a one-day event focusing attention on the “power of rural.” The Upper Midwest is home to agriculture and rural communities in Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Youth are a large part of rural America and National Rural Health Day is an opportunity for young people to showcase the benefits of living and learning in the rural United States. To promote National Rural Health Day, UMASH has compiled ideas for engaging students on November 17, 2022, or anytime farm safety and health activities can be used in the classroom. …

SPOTLIGHT: Protect your back: ergonomic strategies for preventing pain while farming

Farmers can experience musculoskeletal disorders, injuries, and pain symptoms, especially in the lower back region, due to the physical demands of their job and limited access to resources in rural areas. This summer, we hosted Justine Bauer, an Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program student at the University of Minnesota, as she completed her capstone project: an “Ergonomic Program for Crop Production Farmers Operating in Rural Communities in the Midwest.” …

SPOTLIGHT: Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

We all make many decisions every day. Some decisions are automatic and easy; other times decisions can be painstakingly difficult. The Migrant Clinician’s Network recently featured an article on this topic. “Decision Fatigue, and Tips on Making Consequential Decisions”. This resource for health care workers is intended to assist staff make sound decisions for their patients and the workplace. Check out UMASH safety and health resources for combatting decision fatigue as you work on the farm. …

SPOTLIGHT: Re-imagining a Safe and Healthy Future for Agriculture at the 2022 Midwest Rural Agricultural Safety and Health (MRASH) Conference

This year, the Midwest Rural Agricultural Safety and Health (MRASH) Conference focuses on the future as farmers emerge into a changing world affected by supply chain and worker shortages, and ongoing changes in the climate, the economy, and technology. The hybrid conference, featuring a keynote presentation by Matt Russell, State Executive Director of the USDA Farm Service Agency, will take place at the Hotel at Kirkwood Center in Cedar Rapids, November 16 -17. …

SPOTLIGHT: Indigenous Peoples’ Day

OCTOBER 2022 On the second Monday of October, we recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Many people are taught the story of Christopher Columbus “sailing the ocean blue in 1492” and discovering the “New World.” While it made for a catchy rhyme, this story erases the land’s true history – that indigenous people lived, farmed, and were …

SPOTLIGHT: Is it just a “senior moment”?

SEPTEMBER 2022 According to the most recent 2017 census, the average age of farmers is estimated to be 57.5 years old – continuing a long-term trend for overall aging in the United States. Aging leads to a gradual decrease in physical and mental capacity, and there is a growing risk of developing age-related diseases or conditions. One of many …

SPOTLIGHT: Put on your pilot’s cap and prepare for a safer harvest season!

SEPTEMBER 2022 Agriculture is known to be hazardous. With higher death, injury, and illness rates than many other occupations, it can often feel like threats to health and safety are unavoidable on the farm. However, agricultural incidents are preventable. In a recent Hoard’s Dairyman article, our colleague, John Shutske, shares a powerful comparison …

SPOTLIGHT: Farm Stress: Starting the conversation

SEPTEMBER 2022 Farming is one of the most dangerous and physically challenging occupations. It is also mentally and emotionally challenging. Economic, social, and environmental forces can be major sources of stress for farm families and rural communities. In a recent Capital Times article by Blake McCoy, ‘It’s OK to not be OK’: Farmers open up …