Expo Health and Safety Talks



Join the conversation!

Experts in ag health and safety presented on a variety of topics throughout the Expo.

Click the appropriate tab below to view the detailed schedule for that day.

Tuesday, August 11
Ag Injury & Illness Prevention

9:00-10:00 AM


Opening Keynote
Thom Petersen, Commissioner of Agriculture, Minnesota Department of Agriculture

10:00 to 11:00 AM

Can the Bandana…..? Use an N95!
Linda Emanuel R.N., Ag. Producer, AgriSafe Network

Respiratory PPE is a must for agriculture producers to protect the lungs from dangerous airborne particles. Exposure to grain dust, livestock barn dust, molds, pesticides, herbicides, and other contaminants can lead to acute and chronic lung infections and illness.

Learn about the correct mask to wear for different types of work in common farm environments, Attendees will learn why the N-95 is called a respirator, the difference between a fit test and a fit check (seal check), and other considerations for safe PPE use and reuse. Breathe easy with the correct tools in your hands.

Farmworker Health and Safety in the COVID-19 Pandemic
Amy Liebman, MPA, MA, Director, Environmental and Occupational Health, Migrant Clinicians Network

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected farmworkers, a largely Latinx and immigrant population. Farmworkers experience significant health disparities as a result of numerous and compounding determinants of health, including poverty, cultural and linguistic differences, crowded living conditions, work-related injuries and exposures, immigration status, migration and barriers to healthcare such as lack of paid sick leave, health insurance and transportation. The intersection of these factors coupled limited health and safety protections and challenges accessing accurate information complicate farmworkers’ ability to heed health and safety recommendations to prevent the spread of the virus. This session will discuss these challenges as well as best practices to better protect the farmworker community.

COVID-19 Prevention on the Farm: Q&A Face Covering Series
Hosted by Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health (GPCAH)
Jennifer Patterson, Drs. Renee Anthony, Kathryn Crawford, and Fred Gerr

  • Part 1 – Why do we need to wear cloth face coverings?
  • Part 2 – Addressing your health concerns about wearing cloth face coverings.
  • Part 3 – Tips for Selecting a Cloth Face Covering

11:00 AM – Noon

Fill Your Resiliency Toolbox: Using Empowerment Tools, Strategies, and Solutions to Deal with Ag-Related Stress
Dr. Brenda Mack, LICSW, Bemidji State University

During this interactive session, participants will learn about resiliency-building strategies and exercises to effectively cope with ag-related stress by engaging in real time activities in everyday life. This “tool talk” is meant to empower participants in overcoming ag-related challenges and difficulties while increasing feelings of joy, hope, and happiness.

This talk will be presented via a different site. Pre-registration is required. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. Webinar participants remain anonymous.


NOON – 1:00 PM

SAFETY DEMO: Grain bin and machinery safety demos
Jim Zwaschka, Instructor, South Central College; Station Captain, North Mankato Fire Department

This demo will highlight examples of available best practices for grain bin and machine safety, including lockout tagout and the use of harnessing and anchor systems. Attendees will also learn what discussions should take place on the farm before the event of an emergency to assure first responders have needed information and processes in place. These topics will be presented along with examples and demonstrations of agricultural safety.

1:00 – 2:00 PM

Flexing Trust: Firefighters and Farmers Tackling Farm Safety Together
Casper Bendixsen, Director, National Farm Medicine Center, Co-Director, Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH)

Over the past four years, the UMASH project, RF-DASH (Rural Firefighters Delivering Agricultural Safety and Health), has trained over 70 firefighters and EMS in 10 states. Updating training materials and strengthening the network have been key factors in improving agricultural health and safety practices for both farmers and emergency responders.

Stop the Bleed Demo
SamiJo Kraus & Ann Jensen, Southwest EMS, Southwest Regional Trauma Advisory Committee

Stop The Bleed is a national awareness campaign and a call to action, started in 2015 in response to mass shootings across the U.S. The general premise is that bystanders or first responders become trained and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency. Attendees will learn techniques to Stop The Bleed that can also be used in everyday situations involving heavy bleeding.

Digging Safely on the Farm
Chris Thome, Pipeline Ag Safety Alliance

Farming is one of the 10 most dangerous jobs in America. Join the Pipeline Ag Safety Alliance (PASA) to learn how you can help protect yourself, your workers, and your community when digging around buried utilities.

2:00 – 3:00 PM

Cleaning with Confidence in a COVID Era: A Toxicological Perspective
Kirk Hughes, RN, FF/EMT, CSPI, MN Poison Control System

Learn about the potential toxicity of various chemicals used in cleaning/disinfecting household and workplace areas. The goal of this presentation is to reduce exposures and increase awareness of these substances, especially in light of their increased use during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Requirements Vs. Recommendations for Pesticide Safety Due to COVID-19
Kerry H Richards, Ph.D., Education Program Developer, National Pesticide Safety Education Center (NPSEC)

Join us for an overview of the many recommendations of regulatory and safety organizations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These recommendations will be compared to existing legal and regulatory requirements for pesticide use and personal protective equipment.

Livestock Workers and Zoonotic Disease Risk
Whitney Pennington, High Plains Intermountain Center for Agricultural Health and Safety (HICAHS), Colorado State University

This presentation will highlight a few prominent zoonotic diseases (diseases that can spread between animals and people), identify specific livestock handling tasks that could lead to contact with zoonotic disease, and suggest evidence-based training practices to prevent the spread of zoonotic diseases.

Wednesday, August 12
Health and Wellness

9:00-10:00 AM


KEYNOTE: Farm Stress and Mental Health in Agriculture
Emily Krekelberg, Farm Safety and Health Educator, University of Minnesota Extension

Prevention is the Best Medicine
Dr. Rich Peller and Dr. Katie Thompson, Mankato Clinic Family Medicine

You take care of your home, farm and family. But are you taking care of yourself? Learn how routine check-ups can help you stay healthy, catch issues early and build trust with your doctor.

10:00 – 11:00 AM

How to be a Stroke Genius: What to see and do when a stroke strikes
Dr. Andrew Grande, Department of Neurosurgery, University of Minnesota

Learn how to act F.A.S.T. and recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke and why seeking medical care quickly is important.

Hear ye, hear ye! Protect Thy Hearing!
Sarah Angerman, Ph.D., CCC-A, Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences, University of MN

Agriculture is a noisy business, and hearing loss is common within the farming community. This presentation covers strategies for hearing conservation for farming families and agricultural employers.

Sleepless in America
Susan Harris, Educator–Rural Health, Wellness, and Safety, Nebraska Extension

Sleep quality rules every moment of our daily lives, from how we think and remember to how our bodies thrive or deteriorate. The amount and quality of our sleep impacts everyday safety choices in rural occupations, but is often overlooked as a priority and underutilized as a tool for maintaining mental and physical health. Learn surprising sleep facts and 30 helpful sleep tips!

11:00 AM – Noon

Farm Youth Stress Panel
Monica McConkey, farmer, Minnesota Farm Stress Counselor

Maddie Smith, University of Minnesota student, FFA Officer, mental health advocate

Megan Schossow, Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH)

Youth and young adults in agriculture are experiencing a roller coaster of change, along with their own stressors and the stressors of other generations in the family. Join this discussion featuring a mental health expert and farmer and a college student who shares her own experiences and perspective about farm stress.

Opioid Crisis in Farm Country
Ruth Meirick, Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation Director

This presentation will focus on gaining a better understanding of the opioid epidemic in rural Minnesota. The cultural factors that contribute to making these communities vulnerable to opioid misuse and abuse will be discussed. Participants will learn about some of the work being done to address the needs of people living in Greater Minnesota communities.


NOON – 1:00 PM

SAFETY DEMO: Power take-off (PTO) and Livestock Safety Demos + A Conversation with an Injured Farmer
Emily Krekelberg & Michael Cruse, University of Minnesota Extension

  • PTO safety demonstration with Q & A
  • Livestock safety – How to stay safe working around livestock
  • A live conversation with an injured farmer

1:00 – 2:00 PM

There are 2 concurrent sessions to choose from; both will start at 1 pm.

Talk Saves Lives Training (Concurrent Session)
Cassandra Linkenmeyer, Minnesota Area Director, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)

Talk Saves Lives is AFSP’s standardized education program that provides participants with a clear understanding of this leading cause of death, including the most up-to-date research on suicide prevention, and what they can do in their communities to save lives. Participants will learn common risk factors and warning signs associated with suicide, and how to keep themselves and others safe.

ASHCA Achievement Awards & Lightning Talks (Concurrent Session)
Hosted by Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America (ASHCA)

ASCHA’s 2019 Safety Summit was moved online due to COVID-19. Join ASHCA as they present Achievement Awards and Lightning Talks on a range of ag health and safety topics.

For more information and to register to view the recording, visit:

2:00 – 3:00 PM

What outdoor workers should know about ticks and tick-borne diseases in MN
Jonathan Oliver, Environmental Health Sciences, University of MN

Tick-borne diseases are a big risk to outdoor workers in Minnesota. This talk will describe tick identification, common symptoms of diseases, and ways to prevent tick bites.

Sun Safety & Skin Cancer Prevention
Michele Buonomo & Rob Shaver, Medical Students, University of Minnesota Medical School, Dermatology Interest Group

Farmers and others working in agriculture often spend long hours outdoors. The Dermatology Interest Group will share information and resources on the importance of sun safety and skin cancer prevention for farmers and other agricultural workers.

Cancer in Your Community
DeAnn Lazovich, Associate Professor, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, and Co-Investigator/Director of Operations, 10,000 Families Study

Learn about how cancer is affecting your rural community compared to urban communities, ways cancer can be prevented; research being done to learn more about causes of cancer, and opportunities to take part in research.

Thursday, August 13
Safety Together

9:00-10:00 AM


KEYNOTE: Safety is a Team Sport
Dr. Jeff Bender, Director, Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH), School of Public Health, University of Minnesota

Country Road Take me Home…Safely
Annette Larson & Melissa Hjelle, Regional Coordinators for Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths; Lisa Kons, Traffic Safety Program Manager, Minnesota Safety Council; State Coordinator, Minnesota Network of Employers for Traffic Safety

Did you know? Single car crashes are more common on rural country roads where increased speeds and reduced seat belt use can be a deadly combination. And off the road, tractor overturns are the leading cause of fatalities in agriculture (resulting in approximately 130 deaths per year). Also, Minnesota’s hands-free driving law celebrates its one-year anniversary this month. Driving is dangerous and how you drive matters. Learn about common hazards and safe practices for operating vehicles and tractors.

10:00 -11:00 AM

Come Ride Along with Minnesota 4-H ATV Safety Program
Nicole Pokorney, State Coordinator, Minnesota 4-H Outdoor Adventures
Owen Babler, 4-H Youth

Ride into your next adventure with 4-H ATV Safety and Leave No Trace principles. We will explore safety gear and equipment and how to protect our land as we have fun with ATVs.

North Star Farm Tour’s DIY “Hand Stand” & Translated Handwashing Posters
Melodee Smith & Wendy Wustenberg, Farm Safety and Health Project Co-Chairs, North Star Farm Tour

Enjoy a live intro to this farmer-designed handwashing station with clever posters that link by QR Code to 20 translations, and get the link to the FREE plans, how-to video & posters.

A New Safety Curriculum for Protecting Livestock Workers, Veterinarians, and Animals from Antimicrobial Resistance
Carolyn Sheridan, RN, BSN, President and Founder, Ag Health and Safety Alliance™

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an important emerging issue in public health, and a threat to those working in animal agriculture. Zoonotic diseases, which can spread from animals to humans, present a threat to livestock workers and veterinarians who are regularly exposed to the bacterial flora of animals. Personal protective equipment (PPE) can help reduce the risk of infection, but is not always properly used. The Ag Health and Safety Alliance’s™ the Gear Up for Ag Health and Safety™ program targets college students enrolled in agricultural production and veterinary medicine programs to support the health and safety of the next generation of agricultural workers. This interactive session will provide a brief background on AMR challenges, discuss proper techniques and use of PPE when handling animals and sharps (needles).

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

What to Do When the Applecart is Upset
Rich Tunell, Lake Superior Community Health Center

This talk is about how to deal with the unknown with less anxiety. We will discuss what is “normal” and how it has changed, how to plan for an unknown future, and how to manage stress.

Telling a Story; Save a Life
Melissa Ploeckelman, Outreach Specialist for the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Safety (NCCRAHS), the National Farm Medicine Center, and the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH)

Before emails, typewriters, pens, and notepads, history was remembered and shared through storytelling. We still use stories today and they remain an effective tool in communicating farm safety messages. This talk will cover valuable ag safety resources and how to use them effectively to share the message of safety on the farm. Some of the resources discussed include AgInjuryNews.org, which compiles media stories of injuries in agriculture and TellingtheStoryProject.org, which shares personal stories of incidents and injuries alongside important safety messages.

Cultivating Resiliency: A toolkit for conversations
Cynthie Christensen, RN, BSN, LPCC, Oakridge Teletherapy

Most of us learn to administer first aid, CPR and other emergency support measures. But do we know how to talk to a neighbor in crisis? This talk will help you know how to have conversations with neighbors, friends, or strangers in a rural community about stress and mental health.


12:00 – 1:00 PM

SAFETY DEMO: ATV Safety for Youth and Adults
Ellen Duysen, Community Outreach Specialist, Central States-Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (CS-CASH). Bernard Geschke, Program Specialist, Progressive Agriculture Foundation

Learn about ATV and UTV safety for both adults and youth. Hear from experts about:

  • Choosing the correct PPE and proper body attire
  • Determining the size appropriate ATV-UTV
  • Understanding the concept of center of gravity and correct body positioning
  • Burn points that can injure the lower leg
  • Single riders

1:00 – 2:00 PM

Resources to Be a Parent First, Farmer Second
Marsha Salzwedel, EdD, Project Scientist and the Agricultural Youth Safety Specialist, National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety (NCCRAHS)

There are many benefits to raising youth on farms. However, rural and agricultural settings present many risks for children. Learn about the benefits and risks of agritourism, how to keep youth safe on the farm with safe play areas and physical barriers, and the Ag Youth Work Guidelines and other helpful resources to protect the most important asset on your farm – your children.

Don’t Sacrifice Safety for ‘Likes’ and ‘Shares’
Scott Heiberger, Communications Manager, National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety (NCCRAHS) and outreach specialist for the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH)

The agricultural stories and experiences we share on traditional and social media can make life safer for farm and ranch families and workers. But if we’re not careful about what we write and say, and even the images we show, we can unintentionally promote and propetuate unsafe farm practices. Learn some of the dos and don’ts for sharing agricultural stories and reports on traditional and social media.

2:00 – 3:00 PM

Jeffry Nelson, Conceptual Arts, Dr. Aaron Yoder, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Dr. Serap Gorucu, University of Florida

The National Ag Safety Database (NASD) is a web-based repository of health, safety, and injury prevention materials for the agricultural community. In this presentation, you will learn about the available resources in NASD, how to reach those materials, and how to contribute.

Something for Everyone: US Ag Centers YouTube
Megan Schossow, Outreach Coordinator, Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH)

Visual learners, rejoice. The 11 US Ag Centers have a joint YouTube channel with content covering every corner of agricultural health and safety- many in English and Spanish. How can you leverage this resource? What does it have for you? Join this live talk to hear about what is available for you, and how to join the conversation through engaging social media campaigns.

Expo Closing Remarks