UMASH Twitter Chat

UMASH periodically holds Twitter chats about various farm safety and health topics. Below, you will find directions for accessing Twitter chats, upcoming chats, and saved conversations.

Interested in a particular topic? Message or email us at umash@umn.edu, and check out our Twitter page!

How do I join a Twitter chat?

  1. Each Twitter chat has a hashtag, which we will share on Twitter prior to the event. Search the hashtag, and click on Latest.
  2. Introduce yourself
  3. Start by responding to a question, then asking your own. Always use A1/A2/A3 + the hashtag in your tweets. Here’s an example.


Upcoming Twitter Chats

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Saved Twitter Chats

Growing Rural Health: Focus on Farmers

11am Central

National Rural Health Day (NRHD) recognizes that rural communities experience unique healthcare challenges. Agricultural communities, including BIPOC producers, agricultural workers, and Tribal communities, experience their own set of challenges.

The #RuralFarmHealth Twitter chat was a success! Eighteen people attended, including a farmer from Northern Ireland. The conversation focused on rural healthcare for agricultural communities, broadband access, and farmworker health. Farmers, including farmworkers, face unique healthcare issues due to occupational exposures, off-farm jobs, lack of culturally-centered communication, and childcare. Lack of or limited health insurance exacerbates these issues, especially when mental health care is poorly covered by insurance.  Additional healthcare challenges for rural agricultural communities include few providers, long distances to travel to a clinic, limited or no broadband service, lack of culturally-centered care, difficulty maneuvering through the health system for foreign-born and H2-A guest workers, and hospital closures. COVID-19 has made these issues that much more difficult. Attendees noted increased childcare duties, economic impacts of the pandemic including in off-farm jobs, social isolation, and limited PPE access. 

Creative ways to address these issues include using a Total Worker Health approach, toolbox talks, different business models, providing healthcare to individuals without health insurance, conducting farm safety and health trainings over apps that do not require internet service, and including health messages in webinars, events, individual conversations, and ag media. To assist agricultural workers during COVID-19, a participant noted that there needs to be better screening, testing, distribution of PPE, and free vaccinations. There are also gaps in farm safety and health resources, including greenhouse safety, safety for energy farms, and Spanish resources for mink farming. When addressing all of these areas, it is important to take a health equity lens, incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts from the beginning. 

  • A2: Lack of rural broadband makes it more difficult to access telehealth services, which could be helpful in getting necessary care to rural residents with the lack of physical providers.#RuralFarmHealth @UMASHcenter
  • A2: I have been following #RuralFarmHealth today from here in UK, brilliant to have an insight into rural health in N.America! Lots of issues are very different incl the ag landscape but recruitment in rural areas globally seems to be a challenge for us all to overcome..
  • A2: I think rural ag communities are at a disadvantage in accessing healthcare due to a lack of providers in rural areas and no or poor health insurance. @UMASHcenter #RuralFarmHealth
  • Distance to care, getting specialty care, coverage/cost, accessing providers with understanding of occupational impacts of ag @UMASHcenter #ruralfarmhealth
  • We cannot forget that coverage of mental health is not covered in some plans and in others it is very limited! #RuralFarmHealth
  • A2: Complexity associated with using health insurance plans: desired providers not in-network, high out-of-pocket, and deductibles. #ruralFarmHealth
  • A2. Foreign-born and H2-A guest ag workers have to learn to navigate the U.S. healthcare system! #RuralFarmHealth
  • A2: “Closures of rural health hospitals and difficulties recruiting practitioners in rural areas make healthcare a huge challenge in rural areas.” #RuralFarmHealth becot.florence@marshfieldclinic.org
  • A2: There is a lack of rural health providers in many areas. Some farmers need to drive over an hour just to visit a doctor. @UMASHcenter #RuralFarmHealth
  • A2: Would you like to offer health insurance to your employees, but minimum requirements enforced by insurance companies make it difficult? Consider these questions: https://bit.ly/35rquDH #RuralFarmHealth
  • A2: Rural agricultural communities have to travel further for healthcare and have fewer options when it comes to choosing providers. We’re proud to be partners with the @mfldclinic who have locations throughout rural #Wisconsin to help alleviate this challenge. #RuralFarmHealth
  • A2: Some barriers to seeking #MentalHealth services in ag communities include a shortage of providers & stigma. The #Rural Response to Farmer Mental Health & Suicide Prevention issue guide includes info on addressing these barriers: http://bit.ly/3fz7CUU #RuralFarmHealth

  • A3. Integrate a Total Worker Health approach to worker safety and health programs! @SDStateCAFES dairy extension’s “toolbox talks” train workers on dairy protocols but also general wellness like healthy eating, eye health, and coping with stress.#RuralFarmHealth @UMASHcenter
    • Great Idea!
    • Totally! I always think of @AgriSafeNetwork total farmer health as well.
  • Hub and spoke models, coops/other business models, there have been some creative clinics finding ways to provide care without insurance, but keeping rural communities vibrant as a whole certainly shouldn’t be overlooked @UMASHcenter #RuralFarmHealth
  • A3: Many @UMNExt Educators integrate health messaging into their regular webinars and events; this allows us to capture farmers that maybe wouldn’t attend a “stress meeting” but would be interested in programs with production topics! @UMASHcenter #FarmRuralStress
  • A3: Despite working in one of the most dangerous occupations, and being especially vulnerable to the coronavirus, many farmers and workers in the US have long lacked essential resources to ensure they can meet their health needs. #RuralFarmHealth https://tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1059924X.2020.1814924
  • A3: By taking into consideration the lifestyle, environment, biology, & socioeconomics of people living in agricultural communities, researchers will be able to tailor creative and more precise prevention and treatment strategies. #precisionmedicine #RuralFarmHealth #JoinAllofUs
  • A3: Candid farmer-to-farmer conversations, integrating health messages into mainstream ag media @UMASHcenter #RuralFarmHealth
  • A3: This publication by Dr. Becot, Dr. Inwood, Dr. Bendixsen, and Dr. Henning-Smith answers this question very well! #RuralFarmHealth https://tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1059924X.2020.1814924

  • A4: some children being home during spring planting and fall harvest. Balancing school, farm work, etc. Kids may want to help, but need to find age-appropriate tasks. #RuralFarmHealth @UMASHcenter
  • A4: Day to day operations have been as busy as ever, but the challenge has been in not being able to meet face to face with seed customers and other farmers. Loneliness can be hard for many, and so many comm. better face to face. @UMASHcenter #RuralFarmHealth
  • Our operation has really been affected by reduced farmer’s market sales-fewer vendors at every market, means fewer customers too. Basically no restaurant sales this year. Extended family contact is restricted. Think the most encouraging thing is all the ways people have adapted.
  • Throw in the drop in the cheese price since the election and see how dairy farmers feel
  • A4: COVID seems to have exacerbated existing stressors and added additional isolation, already a huge issue in farming and a risk factor for mental health. @UMASHcenter #RuralFarmHealth
  • A4: [ For us the day to day hasn’t changed all that much. Cows and crops don’t really care about a global pandemic. I think where we are getting hit hard is the lack of social interaction. We already don’t have that much anyway, so that being decreased has been tough
  • A4. From our stakeholders, we have heard that already stressful work has become more stressful, especially as our understanding of best practices evolves. #RuralFarmHealth @UMASHcenter
  • A4: Many children have been staying home on the farm during #COVID where the #homelife and #worksite environment has a lot of crossovers. #RuralFarmHealth Here are some ways to keep your children safe: https://marshfieldresearch.org/COVID-19/resources/rural
  • A4 – much has seemed steadily similar on our beef farm, but less sense of community, limited interactions with input providers, PPE access issues @UMASHcenter #RuralFarmChat
  • A4: Farm production has been impacted, in a survey of 134 farm parents only 1/4 had not experienced a change in their off-farm job. Mostly included working from home (34%). Hear more on this report from Dr. Becot at the MRASH Confrence. #ruralFarmHealth https://bit.ly/3nhMM0z
  • @SmallFarmDairy @FoulkShay @AGStateofMind1 curious to hear your thoughts on this

  • @FarmMedicine @UMASHcenterBroadband access and Internet Use are both HUGE issues for all, especially for rural communities! Is there a way to ensure access to rural communities? Access is needed to reduce certain uncertainties in farming. #RuralFarmHealth 
  • A5. Online trainings are hard to access in our region due to limited broadband. Our dairy training programs utilize iPads and tablet-based training that can be completed without internet. #RuralFarmHealth @UMASHcenter
    • Great point @HICAHS A5: It has also become more stressful for farm parents trying to help their children with virtual school work. Creating more mental anxiety! #RuralFarmHealth @UMASHcenter
    • What a great option for those with limited access to broadband.
  • A5: This has been a challenge for years, and more of a problem those working a second job off the farm were required to work from home using up the broadband needed for farm work. #RuralFarmHealth @UMASHcenter

  • A9: Great question asked by @PeterLundqvist1 “Anyone know any research regarding health & safety aspects during energy production on a farm level? Preparing a project application on hydrogen production on farms, including health, safety & security.” @real_isash #RuralFarmHealth
#UMASHExpo Twitter Chat

Eighteen people and organizations participated in the Twitter chat. The key theme of community ran throughout the conversation. Participants noted that farm incidents extend beyond the injured person, affecting healthcare personnel, family, and visitors. Communities all have an important role in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Participants discussed anxieties about respirator shortages, following proper precautions, the effect of the pandemic on farmworkers, and finding childcare. With work-life balance so difficult right now, this has implications on the mental health of communities. A participant noted the need for research to include rural communities. Another explained that it’s difficult to study farm safety when not all injuries are reported and such data isn’t widely available. Fortunately, farm safety can be incorporated in many ways, such as having nutritionists talk about zoonoses. The Twitter chat ended on a high note: There are many resources and organizations promoting farm safety.

  • A1: According to the WI Farm Fatality Report, roadway deaths accounted for 29% of all farm fatalities. https://marshfieldresearch.org/nfmc/wi-farm-related-fatality-reports#UMASHEXPO
  • A1: Transportation incidents are the leading cause of death, but many hazards exist on the farm, & not just to workers but also to visitors, family members, EMS personnel, & other healthcare workers responding to accidents. #UMASHExpo @UMASHcenter
  • #A1: Although the rate of non-fatal injuries to children in agriculture has dropped by 60 percent since the National Children’s Center was established in 1997, agriculture remains hazardous for children and youth. https://cultivatesafety.org/parent-first-farmer-second/#UMASHExpo
  • A1: Safety and health at ranches and dairies is a big concern in our region! Animal handling, zoonotic disease, bending and lifting, and use of heavy machinery are some of the health and safety concerns. #UMASHExpo
  • A1 – finances, balancing the costs of operations, farm transition, low commodity prices, and the next (6th) generation on our farm.
  • A1: Children and youth on farms and in the worksite are one of the biggest concerns. A child dies in an agricultural-related incident about every 3 days! #UMASHExpo
  • A1: Grain bins, there’s a lot out-of-condition grain that can be dangerous to work around, especially when alone #UMASHExpo @UMASHcenter
  • A1 – ATVs, tractors, equipment, and the presence of young children in the worksite. These are my top worries, in terms of farm safety. We expect to see more injuries and more exposure on the farm, as schools remain closed (or virtual) into 2021 #UMASHExpo @UMASHcenter
  • A1 again – https://wcax.com/content/news/UVM-Medical-Center-calls-number-of-ATV-injuries-this-year-alarming-571700541.html#UMASHExpo @UMASHcenter
  • A1: The most common hazard with grain bins is engulfment. The primary causes are moisture and grain removal. Moisture can cause the grain to stick together and form a crust or bridge at the top surface of the grain. https://go.usa.gov/xfGvF #UMASHExpo #TwitterChat
  • A1: Tractor roll overs and run overs are a big risk on farms. #UMASHExpo
  • A1 – New reports show 41 WI ag-related deaths in 2017 & 34 in 2018. Large % was from public road collisions. Follow all state lighting and marking requirements for older equipment & federal regulations for newer machinery. https://bit.ly/fatreprelease #UMASHExpo @UMASHcenter

Top Critical Risks on farms could be:

  • Vehicle rollover/runover
  • Entanglement
  • Electrocution
  • Hazardous substances
  • Handling livestock
  • Fall from heights
  • Drowning
  • Confined space entry

  • A2: Rural #firefighters and first responders are highly esteemed in #ruralcommunities. With tools and knowledge, they can be influential on farmers’ health and safety decisions in their communities. https://umash.umn.edu/portfolio/rural-firefighters-delivering-agricultural-safety-and-health-rf-dash/#UMASHExpo
  • #A2: Visiting agritouism sites can teach our youth a lot about agriculture and where our food comes from, but we need to make sure the sites are safe. Especially now during a worldwide pandemic. This site can help keep communities safe: https://safeagritourism.org #UMASHExpo
  • Q2: I think we all have an opportunity to lead well – so model healthy behaviors and continue to learn and talk with community members and partners #UMASHExpo @UMASHcenter
  • A2: We work hard to encourage our rural communities to participate in research. Hopefully that research will contribute to keeping them both safe and healthy.@UMASHcenter #UMASHExpo
  • A2: Communities can support agriculture through strong youth programs like 4H and FFA, farmers markets, ordinances which benefit production ag, and the promotion of buying local. @UMASHcenter #UMASHExpo
  • Staying safe during COVID-19 with federal protections, varying state regs means farmworkers depend on local communities to help them stay safe. Local health departments, local health centers, local advocates partnering with workers and employers. #UMASHExpo
  • R2: We need to take responsibility, take the farming seriously in every aspect. From small farms to big ones, we need better regulations #UMASHExpo @UMASHcenter

  • A6: We see a gap in fatality and injury surveillance. We can’t know what resources are needed if we don’t know the cause. We use http://AgInjuryNews.org to help us find media mentions of farm incidents to fill those gaps. @AgInjuryNews   #UMASHExpo
  • #A6: While farms can be a great place to live, work and play, they can also be dangerous. Explore the categories here to learn more about accidents and preventing injuries to youth on farms. https://cultivatesafety.org/accidents/  #UMASHExpo
  • A6: I think it needs to be a part of all farm conversations/agribusiness even if it’s subtle. So maybe tag a zoonotic infection intro to a dairy nutrition talk. #UMASHExpo
  • A6: Agree with @weicheltb on the financial incentives and take it to the next level to help farmers and ranchers better understand that investing in safety is good for their bottom line and the future of their farm operation. @UMASHcenter  #UMASHExpo
  • 1/2 Rural communities haven’t always been included in research. This means research is missing a key portion of the population+not necessarily addressing that community’s needs. We are working to enroll a million or more people to better reflect the diversity of the US #UMASHExpo
  • 2/2 A6: We are happy to help give representation in research to the rural community. We are also grateful for other organizations, like @FarmMedicine who do great work and research for the farm community too! They are so valuable! #UMASHExpo @UMASHcenter

No specific question

  • Long hours, isolating work, unexpected weather, and fluctuating prices make agricultural work a stressful job. It is important we let farmers know that there are resources and people waiting to help, especially in these difficult and uncertain times. #farmstress #UMASHExpo