Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Carolyn Sheridan, AgriSafe Network Clinical Director
In that old cop show, Hill Street Blues, the gruff old sergeant wraps up his morning briefing to the squad with a gentle reminder: “Be careful out there.”
The same caution should be given to farmers. Cheryl Tevis, farm issues editor for Successful Farming magazine has well documented the health and safety challenges in agriculture, including:
* The fatality rate in ag is more than ten times greater than that for all U.S. occupations.
* Fatal injuries for all U.S. workers has declined in recent years, but almost doubled for farmers.
* Farmers are high risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries involving farm equipment and are prone to certain cancers and other occupational health risks, like hearing loss and chronic and back pain.
Carolyn Sheridan, a nurse and clinical director of the AgriSafe Network, recently visited with me to talk about her work in helping farmers address these pressing health and safety issues.
The aging farm population is part of the problem. Older farmers are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal injury than are younger ones. It's more hazardous for older farmers to twist around equipment, lift stuff, and crawl under machinery.
But young farmers, too, need to be aware of issues like hearing loss and respiratory problems, she said. AgriSafe clinics are finding surprisingly high incidences of these problems cropping up among young people.
Some of the health problems faced by farmers are brought on by stress. The late harvest last fall, for example, created health and safety issues for a lot of farmers (and their spouses), due to all the added tension, she pointed out.
Carolyn is featured in a new set of videos on Agriculture.com, in which she talks about key safety issues—eye protection, hearing protection and chemical safety. Check them out for ideas on products and practices that could save your hearing, eyesight, and indeed your life.
Be careful out there.
Agriculture.com Rural Health
Good Health And Safety Make $en$e
Posted by John Walter at 7:53 AM
Monday, January 18, 2010
Norman Borlaug in Mexico
Much of the attention in Haiti has been on the devastation in the capital of Port-au-Prince. News reports indicate that rural Haiti, and its farmers, have been no less hard hit by the earthquakes.
One thought I have had in learning about the disaster and its aftermath is “What would Norman Borlaug do?”
Borlaug’s career, of course, was devoted to helping farmers in developing nations. He certainly would have found a way to become involved.
Borlaug was known for his commitment to being on the ground at farms and research sites. For 16 years, the Iowa farm boy worked in Mexico to improve wheat production and foster the Green Revolution.
Even after his death, a program in Borlaug’s name supports agriculture in Haiti and other countries.
The Borlaug Fellowship Program provides support for people working in agricultural research. Last year, the program gave assistance to 453 participants from 56 countries.
Most of us can’t be like Norman Borlaug, but we can join in the spirit of his career by contributing to assistance programs for farmers and other rural people in Haiti.
“I really admire the people who flock to help,” said an Illinois farmer in a forum posting here. "I don't have that option, but I hope I would hope I have the compassion. All I can do is give some dollars.”
USAID’s Web site outlines ways you can contribute, through volunteering, donating goods, and by making a financial contribution, including to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund:
The group InterAction has developed guidelines on the most appropriate ways to help those affected by the Haiti disaster. It includes a regularly updated list of agencies responding to the crisis and accepting donations:
Posted by John Walter at 8:33 AM