The free workshops to help new and beginning farmers recognize and understand safety issues on their farms.
By Karen Anderson
Are you a new or beginning farmer? It’s a broader definition than you might think. A New and Beginning Farmers (NBF) is one who has operated a farm or ranch for no more than 10 consecutive years; has a minimum income of $10,000 in farm income; is a NY state resident; is at least 18 years of age; and materially and substantially participates in day-to-day agricultural production.
USDA and various New York State agencies are providing assistance and incentives for New and Beginning Farmers, but funds from these sources are not enough to support growth of a sustainable farm operation. To save money, new and beginning farmers may be more likely to purchase older, potentially unsafe machinery and take potentially dangerous shortcuts. Additionally, many farms are incorporating elements of agri-tourism, which presents more challenges than running a private farm. Many NBFs have little or no farm experience and don’t know about the many occupational health and safety issues they face.
Everyone knows and recognizes that safety is important, but slim profit margins can make it hard to do more than what is needed to just keep the farm running. Tractors without rollover protection (ROPS), ill-fitting or worn-out personal protective equipment (PPE), power take-offs (PTOs) without shields, unsafe wiring and lighting are common safety issues that are easier to fix than NBF may realize. The New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH) is a one-stop source for accessing farm safety information. NYCAMH offers free farm hazard identification walkthroughs, bilingual safety training, and technical assistance to any farm in New York. NYCAMH’s on-farm work is non-regulatory and results are not provided to anyone other than the farmer.
This year NYCAMH has received funding from the NYS Department of Labor Hazard Abatement Board to offer free workshops to help new and beginning farmers recognize and understand safety issues on their farms. The trainings consist of two-hour workshops, in which participants learn what to expect from an on-farm safety walk-through, receive a brief overview of the most common agricultural safety concerns, and are provided with resources that they can access online. Farmers who take part in these workshops have the immediate opportunity to sign up for free NYCAMH walk-throughs and trainings on their farms at times that are convenient for them.
NYCAMH will also provide customized workshops for NBF military veterans because having groups with some similarities in background and experience is helpful in hands-on and discussion-focused training.
NBF workshops will be held at upcoming conferences – look for announcements in newsletters. NYCAMH is still accepting inquiries from potential host farms and other training locations, which could include elements of a live walk-through. The only requirements for hosting are the ability to provide comfortable indoor seating for up to 20 participants and space for setting up a projector and screen. Please call NYCAMH at (607) 547-6023 or email Karen.Anderson@bassett.org for more information about hosting or participating in New and Beginning Farmer Training. NYCAMH’s work is funded in part by the NY State Department of Labor Hazard Abatement Board and the NY State Department of Health.
Karen Anderson is the Supervisor of Education and Outreach at NYCAMH. She leads a team of ag safety specialists who work with producers all over NY to provide free training to employers, agribusiness, and farm workers.
For more information about NYCAMH’s free safety training program and online training resources are located at www.nycamh.org.
Regardless of farm size, age, or commodity, NYCAMH can help you and your workers stay safer on the farm this year. Our on-farm safety surveys use a checklist to look at potential hazards around the farmstead, as well as tractors and machinery, and evaluate use of PPE. NYCAMH is not a regulatory agency and does not report walkthrough results to any agency. We offer on-farm training sessions to any agricultural operation in English and Spanish on a variety of topics including WPS, Hazard Communication, packing house safety, personal hygiene, forklift, ladder safety, tractor and machinery, and mechanical hazards. We also have a variety of bilingual safety posters available at no cost. NYCAMH offers unique resources to producers including the National ROPS Rebate Program (www.ropsr4u.com); the John May Farm Safety Fund; a catalog of PPE including respirators, hearing and eye protection; respirator fit testing; occupational health clinics; chainsaw safety; and CPR and first-aid training. Call 607-547-6023 any time for assistance with farm safety issues, including OSHA compliance. Look for us at farm shows throughout the state. Visit NYCAMH’s exhibit at the NY Farm Show in February 2019 to participate in a tractor rollover simulator!