SPOTLIGHT: Examining the Past and Patterns to Promote Ag Health and Safety with NFMC

SPOTLIGHT: Examining the Past and Patterns to Promote Ag Health and Safety with NFMC

MAY 2023

Experts from the National Farm Medicine Center of Marshfield Clinic (NFMC) serve several vital roles promoting agricultural health and safety at UMASH. Our Center is a collaboration between NFMC, the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and College of Veterinary Medicine, the Migrant Clinicians Network, and the Minnesota Department of Health.

Casper Bendixsen, NFMC Director, is an associate director on the Center’s leadership team. Florence Becot, NFMC Associate Research Scientist, is the principal investigator of a UMASH research project investigating the impact of individual and contextual influences on farmer mental health. Scott Heiberger, NFMC Communications Manager, and Melissa Ploeckelman, NFMC Outreach Specialist, are part of the UMASH outreach team and the Telling the Story Project.


Dr. Becot, Dr. Bendixsen, and Dr. Matt Comi recently published the article “Automation, Climate Change, and the Future of Farm Work: Cross-Disciplinary Lessons for Studying Dynamic Changes in Agricultural Health and Safety” in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

In the article, the authors discuss automation and climate change at the intersections between agricultural health and safety research and social science. They provide examples of how automation, climate change, and agricultural health and safety can affect farm work, such as the use of autonomous vehicles and drones to reduce labor demands, the increased risk of heat stress due to climate change, and the potential for increased exposure to pesticides with the use of precision agriculture technology. Ultimately, the article highlights the importance of studying these complex topics across disciplines.


NFMC 2022 Year in Review

NFMC recently published their 2022 Year in Review, highlighting their work to conduct high-quality research, develop and deliver health and safety information, explore innovative intervention models, and lead initiatives and networks. Highlights include:

  • Results from a National Children’s Center study demonstrate that children cannot safely operate ATVs on farms and ranches
  • Work continues toward increasing the accessibility and utility of the ag youth work guidelines in agricultural communities
  • NFMC celebrates 25 years
  • The Telling the Story Project expands with the National Children’s Center


Thank you to the NFMC for all they do to promote the safety and health of ag workers alongside UMASH and beyond!