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Rural Agricultural Health and Safety – Models and Innovations

These stories feature model programs and successful rural projects that can serve as a source of ideas and provide lessons others have learned. Some of the projects or programs may no longer be active. Read about the criteria and evidence-base for programs included.

Effective Examples

Farm Dinner Theater
Added July 2021
  • Need: To encourage farmers to make health and safety changes on their farms.
  • Intervention: Farm Dinner Theater is an event in which farmers and their families watch three 10-minute plays covering health and safety topics and then discuss solutions to the issues addressed in each.
  • Results: In a study, farmers who attended the plays were more likely to make changes and tell others what they learned, compared to farmers who received an educational packet with the same information.
HEAR on the Farm
Updated/reviewed November 2020
  • Need: To increase use of hearing protection among farmers and farmworkers.
  • Intervention: Researchers mailed an assortment of hearing protection devices to farmers and provided web-based information about hearing conservation to see which method or combination of methods was most effective.
  • Results: All participants increased their use of hearing protection. The largest increase occurred in those who received hearing protection devices in the mail.

Promising Examples

Tomah Hearing Loss Prevention Outreach
Updated/reviewed November 2020
  • Need: Farmers are highly susceptible to permanent hearing loss due to prolonged exposure to loud machinery and livestock.
  • Intervention: Faculty and students from the audiology department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison supplied earplugs, free hearing testing, and hearing loss prevention education to attendees and participants at a local tractor pull.
  • Results: More than 16,000 pairs of earplugs have been distributed, and attendees have been receptive to the hearing loss prevention education provided by the audiology team.

Other Project Examples

Minnesota Farm & Rural Helpline
Updated/reviewed July 2021
  • Need: To connect farmers in stress with needed resources.
  • Intervention: The Minnesota Farm & Rural Helpline and website connect callers with counselors, help with daily living (like childcare or food assistance), and financial/legal advice.
  • Results: In 2020, the helpline received 104 calls, and the website had more than 7,000 visits.
Farm Assessment and Rehabilitation Methods (FARM) Program
Updated/reviewed January 2021
  • Need: To help farmers with disabilities continue farming while protecting their well-being.
  • Intervention: The FARM program helps disabled or ill farmers continue to operate and work their Wisconsin farms.
  • Results: Since 2009, the FARM Program has helped over 3,000 farmers continue to farm, resume farming, or find an alternative agricultural occupation.
Safe Farming, Safe Living
Updated/reviewed December 2020
  • Need: In 2014, the Avera St. Benedict Health Center's emergency department experienced a drastic increase in the amount of Hutterite patients with farm-related injuries.
  • Intervention: The South Dakota Critical Access Hospital created a program to educate Hutterite communities on farm hazards and safe work practices.
  • Results: Since the program began in 2015, the Avera St. Benedict emergency department has had no life-threatening agricultural injury admissions from the Hutterite communities. Attendees have said their confidence in their ability to identify hazards has increased, and more of them are using safety equipment on a regular basis.
AGRIMEDIC
Updated/reviewed September 2020
  • Need: To reduce farm injuries and improve EMS and fire/rescue's response to these injuries in rural Louisiana.
  • Intervention: AGRIMEDIC is a two-day training for first responders.
  • Results: 732 first responders have received training.
Pennsylvania Rural Health Farm Worker Protection Safety Program
Updated/reviewed May 2020
  • Need: Agricultural producers and Pennsylvania's diverse farmworker population needed guidance on complying with Environmental Protection Agency regulations on the safe use of pesticides used in agricultural production.
  • Intervention: An outreach education program providing compliance and technical assistance for growers was developed which included culturally appropriate training materials targeted to workers.
  • Results: Pesticide use training and other farm safety information is now readily available to Pennsylvania's farmers and farmworkers.

Last Updated: 7/15/2021