Hybrid conference asks: what does the future hold regarding the health and safety of all farm workers?
This 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. Participants can attend either in person or virtually. Farmers, students, frontline healthcare workers, and vocational ag teachers qualify for a greatly discounted registration fee. A free pre-conference “train-the-trainer” workshop dedicated to respiratory fit testing will also take place on November 15 from 2:30-5:00 PM.
Russell’s presentation will explore the changing trends affecting the future of agriculture. Ahna Kruzic, Association Director of the Regenerative Agriculture Foundation, located in Minneapolis, will lead the discussion panel focusing on the critical health and safety implications of these trends. Day Two of the conference features 20 presenters describing their research and outreach projects on various agricultural safety and health topics, including UMASH presentations on collaborative social media campaigns and applying public participation models to engage health and safety partners. The conference will close with an awards luncheon and capstone discussion session.
In 1990, the Iowa State Legislature identified a need for a statewide center addressing concerns in agricultural safety and health. Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health came out of that legislative session and continues to be one of the only mandated, state-funded centers for agricultural safety and health in the country.
Designated as a collaborative effort between four Iowa institutions: The University of Iowa, Iowa State University, the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, I-CASH works to improve the health and safety of the agricultural population by developing statewide prevention and educational initiatives.
Although there have been many structural and technological changes in Iowa’s agriculture, farm-related injuries and fatalities remain higher than those in other industries.