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.

Explore how UMASH is working to promote health and safety on the farm!

Latest News
  • In The Field / SpotlightMay 9, 2023
    SPOTLIGHT: Concentrating on Calves: Prep for a Safe and Successful SpringSpring is a season of renewal, and a busy time for farmers, farmworkers, and agricultural communities. It is a welcome relief from the long Upper Midwest winter and marks the arrival of new calves and the beginning of the growing season. To ensure the health of the herd and workers, keep safe animal handling and disease prevention procedures in mind. Prioritizing health and safety during this time can help support your operation’s success and sustainability for years to come. Our ag health and safety partners have been diligently sharing information about how to have a safe calving season this year. Read on for more! [...]
  • In The Field / SpotlightMay 9, 2023
    SPOTLIGHT: Stay Safe Around Manure!Manure is a valuable resource for crop production. However, as manure decomposes, invisible gases are released, which can be deadly. Hydrogen sulfide, or H2S, is particularly dangerous. In addition, there can be an increased release of such gasses during manure agitation. This is especially true when manure slurry contains sulfur compounds from gypsum bedding, poor water quality, or other sources. Read on for information about work at Pennsylvania State University to increase awareness of these dangers and guidelines for preventing injury or death around manure storage. [...]
  • In The Field / SpotlightMay 9, 2023
    SPOTLIGHT: Examining the Past and Patterns to Promote Ag Health and Safety with NFMCThe National Farm Medicine Center Year (NFMC) recently published their Year in Review, and NFMC and UMASH researchers Casper Bendixsen and Florence Becot contributed to an article on “Automation, Climate Change, and the Future of Farm Work: Cross-Disciplinary Lessons for Studying Dynamic Changes in Agricultural Health and Safety.” UMASH shares some highlights of their collaboration and recent work. [...]
  • In The Field / SpotlightApril 28, 2023
    SPOTLIGHT: Counting sheep on the farm: Sleep ToolkitSince there are always so many things to get done on the farm, it can be hard to get healthy sleep. Sleeping too little, too long, or experiencing other sleep problems like struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep can leave farmers feeling exhausted, making it more likely for mistakes or injuries to happen. Consider these quick tips for healthy sleep during the day and at bedtime, and read on for our full toolkit of sleep resources. [...]
  • In The Field / SpotlightApril 19, 2023
    SPOTLIGHT: Happy 20th! Annie’s Project Turns 20 This YearAnnie’s Project, a national non-profit to educate and empower women in agriculture, is celebrating 20 years since its founding this year! Their mission is to empower women in agriculture to be successful through education, networks and resources. Annie’s Project provides educational programs designed to strengthen women’s roles in modern agricultural enterprises. The goal is to facilitate confidence, networks, and lifelong learners among women farmers, ranchers, growers, landowners, and agriculturalists. Congratulations to Annie’s Project! [...]
  • In The Field / SpotlightApril 14, 2023
    SPOTLIGHT: Spring Anhydrous Ammonia SafetyApril 2023 Photo Credit @Iowa Farmer Today Anhydrous ammonia is a popular fertilizer in agriculture; however, without proper precaution, its use and storage can pose safety risks to farmers and surrounding communities. Read the article below for ways to protect yourself from anhydrous ammonia through personal protective equipment (PPE) and sound handling practices. Anhydrous ammonia can be deadly, but there is time to react By Mandy Archer, Outreach Specialist for the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health at the University of Iowa College of Public Health Republished from Iowa Farmer Today with permission from the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health If you have ever caught a whiff of ammonia while cleaning your kitchen or bathroom, you will know it has a strong, pungent smell that resembles the smell of urine. Likewise, when you are outside you can smell anhydrous ammonia (or NH3) at low concentrations, around 25 ppm (parts per million). Fortunately, it takes greater than 220 ppm for NH3 to cause irreparable damage to humans. This gives you time to clear the area if you smell ammonia, and since NH3 is a colorless gas, your sense of smell can help you to escape a leak before any critical damage is done. However, there are more effective ways that you can protect yourself from anhydrous ammonia other than smell alone. Anhydrous ammonia is a common fertilizer, but just because it is widely used does not mean that the safety risks are minimal. The word “anhydrous” means “without water,” and NH3 is waiting to bond with water to create NH4+ which will attach to soil particles. When anhydrous is injected, this reaction occurs underneath the ground when NH3 comes into contact with moisture. However, if the vapor gets into the air before combining with the soil, it will be extremely attracted to any moisture it can find, including on your body. Good handling practices can also reduce the risk of a spill and exposure. NH3 is typically gaseous, but under the compression and pressure of a nurse or storage tank, it becomes a liquid. Warm outdoor temperatures will cause anhydrous liquid to expand in the tank. To account for this, only fill NH3 to 85% or less of the tank’s capacity. To avoid leaks, inspect all the components of the nurse tank before filling. Check for cuts and other abnormalities on the hoses (flattening, soft spots, bulges), properly inflate tires, and tighten wheel bolts. If the nurse tank has any dents, leaking or cracks it must be immediately repaired or replaced. Make sure you park the nurse tank on level ground, downwind from where you will be applying. Hold valves firmly by the body and not the handle as they may accidentally open. Finally, communicate with family and co-workers about when you are using anhydrous ammonia so that those around you are aware of the risks The best way to counter an ammonia exposure is with water. All farm vehicles transporting anhydrous must be equipped with a 5-gallon supply of clean water, which should be used if you encounter NH3. A second 5-gallon water container should be kept on your tractor or other nearby vehicle. Finally, carry a 6- to 8-ounce plastic eye wash bottle filled with water on your person to quickly flush out your eyes if needed. NH3 can cause clothing to adhere to the body. Rinse the clothing under water to soften it before removing it or it can pull at the skin and cause skin damage. Contact 911 immediately if you are exposed to anhydrous. Wash your eyes and/or body for at least 15 minutes if possible with the water sources on your vehicles. If you inhale the vapor, drink large amounts of water to dilute the chemical in your body. In addition, call the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802 to report an anhydrous leak if the release is 100 lbs. of NH3 or more in the first 24 hours, and be prepared to contact other local, environmental authorities. Ultimately, if you work with anhydrous ammonia on the farm, you are at risk of an exposure. Being informed and having the proper PPE and water to combat the chemical will reduce your risk for injury. Take care of yourself and others by using extreme caution when you work with ammonia. You will not regret taking the time to keep you and those around you safe. [...]
  • In The Field / SpotlightMarch 11, 2023
    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. [...]
  • In The Field / SpotlightMarch 11, 2023
    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. [...]
  • In The FieldMarch 9, 2023
    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. [...]
  • In The FieldMarch 3, 2023
    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. [...]
  • In The Field / SpotlightMarch 1, 2023
    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! [...]
  • In The FieldFebruary 25, 2023
    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. [...]
  • In The Field / SpotlightFebruary 15, 2023
    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. [...]
  • In The Field / SpotlightFebruary 15, 2023
    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. [...]
  • In The Field / SpotlightFebruary 15, 2023
    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. [...]
  • In The FieldFebruary 3, 2023
    Kicking Off 2023 Talking Farm SafetyWith 2023 under way, the UMASH outreach team has been covering ground to continue to amplify health and safety in Upper Midwest agriculture. Looking for ag health and safety resources, speakers, or experts? Please reach out. [...]
  • In The Field / SpotlightJanuary 20, 2023
    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. [...]
  • In The Field / SpotlightDecember 31, 2022
    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. [...]
  • In The FieldDecember 31, 2022
    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. [...]
  • In The Field / SpotlightDecember 27, 2022
    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. [...]
  • In The FieldDecember 11, 2022
    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. [...]
  • In The Field / SpotlightDecember 11, 2022
    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. [...]
  • In The Field / SpotlightDecember 5, 2022
    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. [...]
  • In The Field / SpotlightNovember 18, 2022
    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. [...]
  • In The FieldNovember 11, 2022
    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. [...]
  • In The Field / SpotlightNovember 10, 2022
    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. [...]
  • In The FieldOctober 28, 2022
    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. [...]
  • In The FieldOctober 26, 2022
    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. [...]
  • In The Field / SpotlightOctober 21, 2022
    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.” [...]
  • In The Field / SpotlightOctober 19, 2022
    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. [...]


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The center is a collaboration of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and College of Veterinary Medicine, the National Farm Medicine Center of the Marshfield Clinic with the Migrant Clinicians Network, and the Minnesota Department of Health. This collaboration brings together unique and complimentary expertise to address existing and emerging occupational health and safety issues in agriculture.

  • University of Minnesota School of Public Health
  • National Farm Medicine Center
  • University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Minnesota Department of Health
  • Migrant Clinicians Network