There are many kinds of small and large farms with a variety of agricultural workers in the Upper Midwest; however, this proposal focuses on those involved with buildings for commercial animal production systems.
The project will draft design guidelines for animal housing that through their utilization in the design, construction, and management of these buildings will lead to a safer and healthier operation for workers.
The 2006 International Building Code (IBC) will be used to prepare the design guidelines that could help bring animal facilities closer to standards for mainstream commercial buildings. The design guidelines are intended to define the issues that are important for safety and health and prioritize their safety hierarchy to minimize the hazards that are inherently part of working with animals and the buildings that house them.
The design guidelines will be developed by an interdisciplinary team consisting of architects, landscape architects, and engineers from the University of Minnesota, working with other faculty in Colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Public Health, agricultural safety research groups, livestock and poultry commodity groups, and farm animal workers (particularly immigrant workers) in workshop sessions. Graduate students who are interested in related careers will be invited to participate.
The project goal is to open the door for ongoing funding and research to develop commercial animal production performance guidelines that increase animal productivity, reduce energy consumption, are cost competitive over building life, use more durable and environmentally friendly building components, improve rural landscape character, provide more neighborly and socially acceptable and understandable housing systems, improve worker and animal health, maintain animal biosecurity, and provide for food safety and security.
The design guidelines emerging from this small project are an innovative idea that has never been systemically analyzed, and could become a transformative idea.
Questions about this pilot project?
Email Dewey Thorbeck: firstname.lastname@example.org