UMASH – the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center – brings a multidisciplinary approach guided by One Health principles to improve the health and safety of agricultural workers and their families in the Upper Midwest region. LEARN MORE
Explore how UMASH is working to promote health and safety on the farm!
- SPOTLIGHT: JAVMA Viewpoint: Psychological implications of humane endings on the veterinary professionOn-farm conditions can vary greatly and can include responding to animal disease outbreaks. Such incidents evoke difficult decisions, including depopulation, or humane endings for livestock. Farmers, veterinarians, and other agricultural professionals can experience tremendous stress and trauma during these events. The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) recently published a Viewpoint on the Psychological implications of humane endings on the veterinary profession. The article emphasizes the mental health impacts of the profession of veterinary medicine, particularly the impact of making end-of-life decisions regarding animals. [...] READ MORE
- SPOTLIGHT: Electrical safety – Stay prepared & aware this spring!Spring brings even more activity to the farm, with preparation for fieldwork and the growing season, young livestock, and all the daily work that gets done. Take time to refresh on overhead and buried power lines and cables before moving augers or digging for your latest tile drainage. This article, republished from Safe Electricity, urges farmworkers to be aware of overhead power lines and to keep equipment and extensions far away from them. [...] READ MORE
- Pigs & Public HealthOn February 26, 2023, UMASH Director, Dr. Jeff Bender, discussed public health aspects related to African swine fever and global animal health with National Hog Farmer and Feedstuffs in their African Swine Fever iCOMOS webinar series. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Bruce Alexander, UMASH’s founding and former director. [...] READ MORE
- Manure is risky business – we’re putting safety first!MARCH 2023 As a part of our Emerging Issues Program, UMASH has been working to understand and prevent injuries and fatalities related to manure management. A recent study by UMASH and colleagues at the University of Minnesota Extension explored the self-reported occupational hazards of manure applicators in Minnesota. In October 2022, UMASH’s Devon Charlier and Carol Peterson were invited to share the results of this study as a part of a webinar for the Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Community (LPELC). This talk, as well as presentations from Dr. Rebecca Larson on manure emissions and from Dr. Dee Elils on zoonotic disease threats, can be viewed here. As we work to address this emerging issue, stay tuned on our website and sign up for our e-mail listserv to stay informed as we work to address this emerging issue in agricultural health and safety. [...] READ MORE
- SPOTLIGHT: Lead the Way in Safety during ASAP Week 2023This year, ASAP Week is March 6-10 with a theme of “Lead the Way in Safety.” Each day of the week highlights a different agricultural health and safety focus. Check out UMASH resources for each day’s topic below, and use the promotional toolkit to share your own safety messages! [...] READ MORE
- Ag Health and Safety on the Hill – Q&A with UMASH Student, Erica ShuckEach year, UMASH leaders visit with congressional staff at the U.S. capitol to educate them about the importance of funding agricultural health and safety programming. This year, UMASH research assistant Erica Shuck joined Center Director Jeff Bender, Outreach Director and Center Coordinator Megan Schossow, and Founding Center Director Bruce Alexander on their trip to “the Hill.” Read more about her experience below. [...] READ MORE
- SPOTLIGHT: UMASH Behind the ScenesIn the latest SPH Behind the Scenes, University of Minnesota School of Public Health (SPH) Interim Dean Tim Beebe interviewed Center Director Dr. Jeff Bender, Research Project Specialist Chela Vázquez, and Center Coordinator and Director of Outreach Megan Schossow. They share their stories and discuss their work and current topics in agricultural health and safety, like the impact of the changing climate, workforce, and agricultural industry. [...] READ MORE
- SPOTLIGHT: Promoting safety and health during avian influenza outbreaksOutbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) continue to occur across the United States and globally, affecting millions of birds. UMASH has responded to the HPAI outbreak by developing a toolkit, serving as a resource, and collaborating with partners. This NIOSH blog post highlights efforts during the outbreak to communicate about HPAI, its risks to workers, and prevention strategies. [...] READ MORE
- SPOTLIGHT: Call 1-800-FARM-AID for support in English or SpanishUMASH is a collaborative center of five leading research and healthcare institutions. One of our collaborators, Migrant Clinicians Network, recently highlighted the Spanish-language hotline they created with Farm Aid. All farmers, including Spanish-speaking farmers, can call 1-800-FARM-AID (1-800-327-6243) and receive support. [...] READ MORE
- SPOTLIGHT: Stay Safe with Sows – Protect Yourself from InjuryCommon injuries include back and knee injuries, repetitive motion injuries, and hearing loss. These and other injuries can affect your bottom line. UMASH has a new video for protecting swine workers from becoming injured on the job. Farm Worker Sow Behavior Safety Tips offers practical recommendations to avoid serious injury. [...] READ MORE
- SPOTLIGHT: An Attitude of Gratitude – UMASH highlights from 2022Each year, UMASH works to improve agricultural health and safety in the Upper Midwest through research, outreach, and community engagement. As we enter 2023, we look back at the 2022 with gratitude. This story shares our top emails, website pages, social media posts, and more, of the past year. [...] READ MORE
- Keeping an ear to the ground: UMASH publishes model on emerging issuesUMASH continually works to respond to emerging and re-emerging issues in agricultural safety and health throughout the Upper Midwest. To do this, UMASH developed a novel ‘process model’ for selecting emerging issues, creating and implementing a response, and evaluating impact. In a recent publication, this model is shared out, along with case studies and recommendations for its use. Partners in agricultural safety and health, as well as other disciplines, can see the model online. [...] READ MORE
- SPOTLIGHT: Looking Back on 2022: UMASH Annual ReportAs 2022 comes to a close, UMASH presents our 2021- 2022 Annual Report. This report provides a yearly snapshot of the work accomplished for farmers, farm families, and workers. In this report, you will find a summary of our Center’s research, outreach, engagement, and evaluation activities. As UMASH moves forward to 2023 with our newly renewed center, we welcome your questions, comments, and insights into improving occupational health and safety for farmers in the Upper Midwest. [...] READ MORE
- Can you Imagine? MRASH conference address a safe and healthy future for agricultureThe 2022 Midwest Regional Agricultural Safety and Health Conference (MRASH) was held November 16 and 17 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The conference theme challenged participants to look to the future of food and agriculture and the various roles of those who work within the industry. Megan Schossow and Carol Peterson attended the conference on behalf of UMASH. [...] READ MORE
- SPOTLIGHT: Dress for Winter SuccessThere are many factors to consider when dressing for winter success. With a bit of information, dressing for winter work can help keep you warm and mobile. We’ll help answer some questions…How many layers should I wear? Why do I sweat when working outside? Are gloves better than mittens? There are many factors to consider when dressing for winter success. Let’s look at some suggestions to keep you warm when actively working on the farm. [...] READ MORE
- SPOTLIGHT: Are you and your farm winter ready?Winter is coming, and so is the snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. Farming is a dangerous occupation year-round, but winter extremes can surely complicate safety and health in agriculture. There is an increased risk of injury during severe weather, often related to slips, trips, and falls. Be winter ready by preparing and planning for safety. [...] READ MORE
- SPOTLIGHT: Winter is coming… prevent slips, trips, and fallsFalls threaten older adults’ safety and independence and generate enormous economic and personal costs. With winter snow and ice on the horizon, it is an excellent time to review why falls happen in older adults and what prevention methods to consider. The National Institute on Aging shares many reasons that older adults experience falls and Jane Strommen, North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension Gerontology Specialist, offers six easy steps to help you reduce your risk. [...] READ MORE
- Forward TogetHER 22The Dairy Girl Network held their national conference in Minnesota November 1 – 3, 2022. UMASH was involved by sponsoring two speakers, Monica Kramer McConkey who addressed stress, and mental health/well-being for women, and Jeff Ditzenberger who spoke on the importance of suicide prevention utilizing the Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) method. Megan Schossow and Carol Peterson attended the event and staffed a booth showcasing UMASH resources for dairy women on topics including positive animal handling, stress, mental health resources, and Stop Think Act. [...] READ MORE
- SPOTLIGHT: Celebrating National Rural Health Day in the ClassroomNational 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. [...] READ MORE
- Marshfield Clinic Research Institute recognizes UMASH researchers’The Marshfield Clinic Research Institute recently hosted the Research Spotlight event on October 12, 2022, where UMASH researchers, Dr. Florence Becot and Dr. Casper “Cap” Bendixsen were highlighted. Dr. Becot presented her research on Using photovoice to extend farm safety and health research and Dr. Bendixsen was awarded the 2022 recipient of the Gwen D. Sebold Fellowship. [...] READ MORE
- A Mental Health DayProfessionals practicing in the area of suicide prevention and mental health came together in Glencoe, MN on September 27 for a full-day continuing education conference on the topics on suicide prevention and mental health. The conference was organized by the 2B Continued organization. Carol Peterson represented UMASH with a variety of resources including the Cultivating Resilience in Rural Communities toolkit, Signs and Symptoms of Stress cards and the Cultivating Resiliency recorded webinars. [...] READ MORE
- SPOTLIGHT: Protect your back: ergonomic strategies for preventing pain while farmingFarmers 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.” [...] READ MORE
- SPOTLIGHT: Decisions, Decisions, DecisionsWe 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. [...] READ MORE
- SPOTLIGHT: Re-imagining a Safe and Healthy Future for Agriculture at the 2022 Midwest Rural Agricultural Safety and Health (MRASH) ConferenceThis 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. [...] READ MORE
- SPOTLIGHT: Healthy Habits – Tips and Tricks from a Registered DietitianUMASH sat down with Melissa Jaeger, RD, LD, a Corporate HyVee Registered Dietitian, to get professional tips for establishing and maintaining healthy habits. We also emphasize tips and resources on hydration, caffeine, and planning to support a safe and healthy season on the farm. [...] READ MORE
- A Communications Innovator in Agricultural Safety and HealthOCTOBER 2022 Farming is a way of life that is ever-changing. Financial uncertainty, market shifts, the unpredictability of weather events, and infectious disease are just a few factors that can impact the health and well-being of agricultural communities. When a potential threat takes form, communication plays a vital role in keeping farmers, farmworkers, and their families safe, healthy, and supported. As agricultural safety and health communication innovators, our UMASH team constantly explores how we can more quickly and effectively respond to current, emerging, or re-emerging issues. We know that access to timely and accurate information can help agricultural communities stay informed and take appropriate action to minimize risks. But with an infinite amount of information and sources online, how do you know what resources to share? To answer this question, UMASH Senior Communications Specialist and Analyst, Cassie Edlund, created a strategic approach to assessing and leveraging resources to help communicators better identify and share resources best suited to their audience’s unique needs. The tool uses five criteria: Quality, Coverage, Resonance, Appearance, and Accessibility to help guide what resources may or may not be fitting for an audience. Cassie’s strategic tool played a vital role for UMASH when responding to the re-emergence of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in the Upper Midwest in the Spring of 2022. To enhance prevention, UMASH aimed to create an HPAI toolkit to help poultry producers understand what avian influenza is, how to prevent the spread of disease, and take proper precautions. Using Cassie’s strategic tool, UMASH identified what existing resources could be helpful for farmers, farmworkers, and clinicians when navigating this timely issue and what gaps might need to be filled. Cassie has featured her tool in a virtual poster session at the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Symposium and the International Society for Agricultural Safety and Health (ISASH) Conference. Across all of her work at UMASH and with our partners, Cassie has provided meaningful insight on how professionals can strengthen their communication efforts to better reach and support the agricultural communities they serve. Responding to Emerging Health and Safety Risks in Agriculture Thank you, Cassie! [...] READ MORE
- SPOTLIGHT: Indigenous Peoples’ DayOCTOBER 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 stewards of this land for many thousands of years before Europeans arrived. It is also true that the European colonization of this land caused devastation to Native communities through conquest, enslavement, and disease. The effects of this persist today, with communities of American Indians and Alaska Natives experiencing “lower life expectancy and disproportionate disease burden,” according to Dr. Linda Frizzell, “perhaps because of limited educational opportunities, disproportionate poverty, discrimination in the delivery of health services, and cultural differences.” Despite facing historical and ongoing atrocities, Native Americans continue to live, farm, and be stewards of the land on which we live. Throughout history, Indigenous people have contributed endless wisdom to agriculture. Now, as we experience the effects of climate change on a massive scale, many are returning to Native farming approaches. In honor of Indigenous Peoples Day, we at UMASH recognize the reality of the injustices experienced by Native Americans, celebrate the resilience of all Indigenous communities, and commit to elevating and supporting the health and safety of Native farmers and their families. LEARN MORE [...] READ MORE
- SPOTLIGHT: $9.29 million in federal funding to focus on worker health and safety projects in Upper Midwest agricultureOCTOBER 2022 Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center renewal announced The Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH), serving Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, is one of 11 centers selected by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to receive funding for a five-year cycle beginning Oct. 1. The announcement marks the third consecutive cycle that UMASH has been successful in its competitive bid for funding. UMASH is a collaboration of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, National Farm Medicine Center of the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute, Migrant Clinicians Network, and the Minnesota Department of Health. UMASH uses its unique multidisciplinary expertise to primarily focus on worker health and safety issues related to animal agriculture production. Despite steady declines in fatalities in the AgFF sector over the past 30 years, in 2020, AgFF workers experienced the highest fatal injury rate at 21.5 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers, compared to a rate of 3.4 deaths per 100,000 workers for all U.S. industries. The NIOSH Ag Centers were established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/NIOSH in 1990 by a cooperative agreement to conduct research, education, and prevention projects to address the nation’s pressing agricultural, forestry, and fishing (AgFF) health and safety problems. The funded UMASH Center will continue to advance important work to improve the health of this critical workforce. [...] READ MORE
- 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 concerns with aging is the onset of dementia. Is it just a senior moment or the beginning stages of dementia? How do farmers and caregivers cope with dementia and safety concerns on the farm? Kanika Arora, Ph.D. and Associate Professor at the University of Iowa offers background on this topic and provides practical safety guidelines to use when working or living with someone who is experiencing signs and symptoms of the disease. This article was published in the September 2022 issue of the Alive and Well Newsletter by our colleagues at the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health. Dementia and Farm Safety by Kanika Arora, PhD, Associate Professor, Health Management and Policy Over 66,000 older Iowans are impacted by Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most common type of dementia. Additionally, over 73,000 Iowans provide unpaid informal care for people with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Though dementia mostly affects older adults, it is not a normal part of aging. It is a progressive brain disease with gradually worsening symptoms, including problems with memory, compromised reasoning and judgment, impaired gait, difficulties with spatial and temperature perception, language deficits, and unpredictable behavior (such as wandering, anxiety, and aggression). Dementia ranges in severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person’s functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for help with basic activities of daily living. Recent work has shown that relative to other occupations, older adults with longest-held jobs in agricultural occupations experience greater odds of developing dementia. Safety is a major concern for older adults working and living on the farmstead. Dementia-related problems with memory, judgment, and mood may compound safety concerns in already hazardous farm environments, placing farm families at an even greater risk for incidents and injuries. AGING ON THE FARM [...] READ MORE
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Great Content shared often! If you are a farmer, this is the place to learn about how to keep yourself and your family safe!
Sharing UMASH's and other partner resources with our Gear Up for Ag Health and Safety students throughout the year makes our work much easier!
They have been important resources to be sure our "learners" know how to stay safe! Honestly, I haven't been able to find better resources than yours!
Being a farm kid and being raised around this stuff all our lives, we don't realize all the unsafe things we are around so seeing that made me realize that little everyday things I'm doing or around are not always as safe as I think they are.
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