Website takes ‘FReSH’ look at agricultural safety and health
A plethora of agricultural safety and health information is available by typing a few key words into a search engine, but trying to synthesize and validate the masses of content can be difficult. The Farm & Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice (CoP), www.extension.org/agsafety, gathers and disseminates practical, research-driven information.
FReSH obtains most of its content from the Cooperative Extension system based at land-grant universities, and from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) agricultural centers. But FReSH also works with smaller organizations such as Farm Safety for Just Kids and AgriSafe Network to disseminate their resources as well.
The CoP is a collaborative effort between universities, industry, and government, with more than 100 individual members from multiple regions of the country who review and produce agriculture safety and health information. These members work to provide usable resources such as videos, publications, online safety courses, and webinars to the general rural population, agricultural producers, and agricultural safety and health professionals. Financial support for the project is provided by the United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture; eXtension; and CHS Inc.
“The aim of eXtension is to summarize the health and safety information that is out there. We don’t want to duplicate anything. The goal is to get the information all in one place where people can find it and be brought to the original sources,” said Aaron Yoder, the CoP Leader of FReSH.
FReSH is currently working to integrate ag safety and health information related to food systems and climate change, including information on wearable technology throughout the food system. Wearable technology such as smart watches and fitness technology have the potential to provide safety to field workers, including the ability to detect heat illness. Members of the CoP are examining the entire system of food production to determine where useful messaging for safety and health can be distributed.