by Alissa Kent
The John May Farm Safety Fund is a funding assistance program that was launched by the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH) in January of 2016. The Safety Fund, set up by NYCAMH, honors the organization’s co-founder Dr. John May and will assist New York farmers who need financial help improving safety on their farms.
As the first program of its kind in New York State, this cost sharing program will allow farmers to make lifesaving safety upgrades. “We’re excited to integrate this program into the portfolio of health and safety services we offer to the agricultural community,” says NYCAMH’s Director Julie Sorensen. “The John May Safety Fund fills a gap in services to small farms, where slim profit margins often make it difficult to do more than what is needed to keep the farm running every day.”
Who can apply?
The program is be geared towards smaller farms of all commodities. Awardees must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Resident of New York State
- Active farmer (part-time or full-time)
- Annual farm gross receipts are $10,000 – $100,000 OR dairy farm has fewer than 400 milking cows.
What types of projects are applicable?
Any project that directly improves safety on the farm will be reviewed. Some examples include but are not limited to:
- The purchase and installation of equipment to improve animal handling safety
- Repairing or replacing broken or outdated machinery that poses a safety risk
- Repairing or replacing faulty electrical systems
- Making necessary changes to operations to become OSHA compliant
- Adding or replacing worn out safety signage
Where to apply and how it works:
- Applications to the program may be submitted at any time and may be obtained online at http://www.nycamh.org/programs/john-may-farm-safety-fund/, by calling NYCAMH at (800) 343-7527 (ask for the John May Farm Safety Fund) or emailing email@example.com. The number of awards and the award amount will be determined by NYCAMH on a first-come, first-served basis.
- For applicants being considered for an award, a site visit will be conducted by one of NYCAMH’s farm safety staff.
- Funds will be awarded with the stipulation that the project must be completed within one year of award notification, unless an extension has been requested and approved.
- No later than 60 days after project completion, the award recipient is required to contact NYCAMH farm safety staff to schedule a post-project site visit; and submit an evaluation and expenditure summary form, along with copies of paid receipts. After NYCAMH staff review the post-project site visit, the expenditure/summary form, and copies of paid receipts, and the recipient schedules a media promotion visit with NYCAMH, we will send the full award to the recipient.
History of NYCAMH:
NYCAMH was established in the early 1980’s by Dr. John May and Dr. David Pratt, pulmonologists at The Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, NY. Initially known as the Bassett Farm and Safety Health Project, it was officially designated the New York Center for Agriculture and Medicine in 1988 with a mission of enhancing agricultural and rural health by preventing and treating occupational injury and illness. Learn more at www.nycamh.org.
“NYCAMH provides an essential service for farms across New York. The efforts to improve safety and working conditions for both farmers and their employees has, no doubt, saved lives and reduced the number of injuries. New York Farm Bureau is a strong supporter of NYCAMH’s work and is hopeful our members will take advantage of the new grant program to make farms in this state even better places to work,” said Steve Ammerman, New York Farm Bureau Manager of Public Affairs.
Since its founding in the early 1980’s, NYCAMH has established a farmer’s clinic to help diagnose and treat farm related injuries and illnesses, developed a NYS ROPS Rebate Program that has retrofitted over 1,400 tractors, and performed hundreds of on-farm safety trainings to thousands of farm workers.
Dr. May co-founded and directed NYCAMH from the early 80’s through 2015 and his work in promoting safety measures has given him a national reputation in his field. Even as he prepares to retire, Dr. May receives glowing remarks on his work within this industry. “Dr. May has become an icon in the field of agricultural health and safety and is nationally recognized for his dedication and passion for improving the health and safety of farmers,” said Dr. Sorenson, who is taking over daily responsibilities at NYCAMH.
“Turning Point Dairy strives for a safety environment on the farm. This is not an easy task. With NYCAMH and the help they have offered our farm, we have become a more safety conscious farm. NYCAMH has also helped us with our OSHA training and compliance. We wish to thank NYCAMH and their staff and hope they can continue to offer this invaluable service,” said Marty Hanehan, Co-owner of Turning Point Dairy.
Since the launch of this program in early 2016 we have funded 12 applications totaling $39,086.96 in funding.
“Every time we run the animals through (the animal handling system) we say to ourselves ‘This is such a great improvement.’ Calves through bulls, we run a whole variety of animals through and they are not afraid.” – Marie K
Marie’s family installed a squeeze chute for their beef farm with funds from the JMFSF.
“I would like to add that the overall experience with applying and participating with the John May Safety Grant was a positive experience. You were very helpful and wonderful to speak with on any question I had. The safety inspection was helpful in that our tractors now have fire extinguishers with them. This safety grant allowed my little farm to purchase a much needed cattle chute to perform vaccinations and health checks on our animals. My kids can now participate with that activity as it is done in a much safer fashion…Again, thank you for this experience and helping our farm grow….safely.”- Vicki K
Vicki installed a squeeze chute for their beef from with funds from the John May Farm Safety Fund
Alissa Kent is a Research Assistant for the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health. NYCAMH can be contacted at:
One Atwell Road
Cooperstown, NY 13326
Phone: (607) 547-6023
Toll Free: (800) 343-7527
Fax: (607) 547-6087