FarmSafe Podcast

During each episode, agricultural workers and public health experts share first-hand stories and real-life tips for making safer and healthier decisions while on the farm. At the end of each episode, listeners will be able to make a plan for preventing specific injuries or illnesses

Want to submit audio for our podcast? Send it to cph-greatplainscenter@uiowa.edu.

Take our survey and tell us what you’d like to hear.

Original music for the FarmSafe podcast was written and performed by Ben Schmidt.

This work was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health. The content does not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC or NIOSH.

Pilot Spotlight – Examining Support Systems for Farmers’ Mental Health

Published May 18, 2022

Throughout May, we’ve been talking with pilot grant recipients about their projects to support farmers’ mental health. For today’s episode, I sat down and spoke with Yanni Liang about her 2020 pilot grant, “Examining the role of agricultural cooperatives in protecting farmers’ mental health”. Yanni said the goal of her project was to understand what resources are available that already exist in communities that can potentially help farmers mitigate stress. Academic pilot grants are awarded to students, staff, and faculty at academic institutions to create new agricultural safety and health knowledge or assess best safety and health practices to prevent illness and injury resulting from agricultural work exposures. 

Pilot Spotlight – Airing out Farm Stress

Published May 4, 2022

May is Mental Health Awareness Month so today we are joined by Meg Moynihan from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and Don Wick, host of the Transfarmation podcast, to talk about their project called Airing Out Farm Stress. They received a pilot grant from the Great Plains Center for their project, which aimed to tackle the silence around how the stresses inherent in agricultural production can affect the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of agricultural workers. What started out as 60-second radio segments turned into a successful podcast, Transfarmation, which covers in-depth mental health topics by sharing farmers’ stories. “Here you are hearing stories of people like you, other farmers who are talking about really difficult situations that they had to go through, but they came out the other side.”

Episode Resources

Pilot Spotlight- Stress on the Farm: Strategies to Help Each Other

Published April 20, 2022

The Great Plains Center funds pilot projects that promote innovative outreach and research efforts to prevent agricultural injury and illness.  In this episode we talk with Dr. David Brown, the behavioral health state specialist at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, about his pilot project that provided suicide prevention trainings for over 4300 producers and landowners in Iowa.  This is the first episode where we talk to pilot grant recipients about their projects, what they did, and how they got the ideas for them.  “We knew that farmers and producers had a lot higher rate of suicide than the general population.  We also knew that they had a lot higher rate of depression and anxiety than the general population, and so we felt it was important to get out and to start the conversation about suicide prevention in the agricultural community.”

Avian Influenza

Published April 7, 2022

In this episode we are talking about Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), also known as “bird flu”. It is a highly contagious disease that is currently circulating in the United States among birds. As of April 5, 2022, there have been no reported human cases. According to the CDC, these avian flu viruses spread naturally among wild aquatic birds and can infect domestic poultry. It is highly contagious among birds and is often fatal to chickens and turkeys. We talk with Renee Anthony and Matt Nonnenmann from the University of Iowa about what poultry farmers can do to protect themselves from the virus and other hazards they might be exposed to while culling flocks or decontaminating farms and vehicles.

“I think we need to look at the whole continuum of exposures that operators may have during this outbreak.” – Renee Anthony, GPCAH Director

Research Spotlight: Farm Vehicle Crashes on Public Roads

Published March 23, 2022

This episode is part of our “Research Spotlight” series, where we talk about recent research in the field of agricultural safety and health. Research can help identify hazards, understand outcomes, and determine if interventions are helpful in reducing injuries and illnesses. In this episode, we hear from Matt McFalls and Dr. Marizen Ramirez from the University of Minnesota, who recently published a paper titled “Farm vehicle crashes on public roads: Analysis of farm-level factors”. We discuss their study examining risk factors for rural roadway crashes and why research is important to gather information we can use to develop prevention programs. A link to the paper is included in the episode resources.

Anhydrous Ammonia

Published March 9, 2022

In this episode, we talk with Dan Neenan, director of the National Education Center for  Agricultural Safety, about anhydrous ammonia. Dan has worked as a firefighter and paramedic responding to anhydrous ammonia releases. “I’ve been a paramedic coming up on 30 years now and I don’t think I’ve seen anybody in more pain than a gentleman that I had that was sprayed in the face and on the eyes with anhydrous ammonia.” Dan describes anhydrous ammonia and the PPE you need to wear when working with it. He also talks about the increased presence of anhydrous tanks on the roads this time of year.

Grain Bin Safety

Published February 23, 2022

In this episode, we talk about grain engulfment and entrapment. The speed and force of flowing or shifting grain can have deadly consequences for workers who enter grain bins or walk on outdoor grain piles. We will be hearing stories from three guests today: a woman whose brother was rescued from a grain bin, an emergency responder who has been called for grain bin rescues, and a researcher who has been studying grain bin engulfment and will provide recommendations for keeping safe when working with grain.

Cold Weather Training Tips

Published February 9, 2022

In this episode, we wrap up our series on winter hazards and talk about things to include in cold weather safety trainings. Our guest is Dr. Maristela Rovai, a veterinarian, assistant professor, and extension dairy specialist at South Dakota State University. Dr. Rovai develops extension programs and assists dairy producers in training dairy workers. Winter can be challenging for anyone who has to work in cold temperatures and it can be especially challenging for immigrant workers new to the Midwest climate. Dr. Rovai shares tips on how to communicate winter hazards in cold weather trainings to protect workers at work and at home.

Falls on Ice

Published January 26, 2022

We continue our winter series talking about falls on ice, a common wintertime hazard on the farm. In this episode, an Iowa rancher shares a story about falling on ice and hitting her and head.  She lists the things she always does now to try to prevent it from happening again.  We also talk to Kathy Lee, RN, MSN, from the UIHC trauma program about health outcomes associated with falls and strategies for preventing falls on ice.

Episode Resources

Cold Weather Gear

Published January 12, 2022

We kick off our winter series by talking about cold weather gear. Agricultural workers have to work outside in the winter and here in the Midwest, staying safe and warm in the winter can be challenging. Having the right kind of clothing and accessories for working outside in the winter can help prevent cold temperature-related health problems like frostbite and hypothermia. In this episode, we talk about how to build a clothing system based on layering and what materials are best and worst for keeping you warm and dry.

Lighting and Marking in Agriculture Vehicles

Published December 8, 2021

In this episode, we talk about lighting and marking and how they increase visibility of farm vehicles and equipment on roadways. Reflective tape and slow-moving vehicle emblems draw the other driver’s attention to the agricultural vehicle which may give them more time to adjust their speed and decrease the likelihood of a crash.

Thanksgiving Special

Published November 24, 2021

“I’m thankful for farmers because of the hard work, dedication, persistence and pride that they take in their work to help feed people in the United States and around the world.” This week we are celebrating farmers and their important work. We asked listeners and folks who work with the center to send in messages of thanks to the farmers who provide us with Thanksgiving staples and healthy and safe food all year round. We also recognize the enormous stressors that have strained the mental health of farmers and agricultural workers, especially in the last couple of years, and we have provided links to mental health resources for farmers and rural communities.

Episode Resources

Whole Body Vibration

Published November, 2021

In this episode, we talk about a common problem for farmworkers: occupational exposure to whole-body vibration, a primary risk factor for back pain. Drs. Fred Gerr and Nate Fethke talk about what whole-body vibration is and ways to reduce exposure. “The machine is shaking and…your muscles are constantly contracting to provide stabilization for your spine, so you need to give those muscles some time to recover.”

Sleep

Published October 27, 2021

It’s harvest season and during this busy time, farmers and ranchers may not be getting much sleep. In this episode we talked to Susan Harris from Nebraska Extension, and Amanda Prokasky, from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, to talk about the importance of sleep and how the quality and quantity of farmers’ and ranchers’ sleep is affected throughout the year.

Episode Resources

ATV Safety Features

Published October 13, 2021

In this episode, Carolyn Sheridan and Jenna Gibbs from the Agricultural Safety and Health Alliance, talk about their work with ATV safety as part of their Gear Up for Ag Program.  Jenna and Carolyn discuss ATV safety and engineering features to help reduce risk of injury. These features include wider frames, crush protection devices, and GPS rollover systems or alarms. “I do think students are really interested in that, because those are safety decisions that you make at the point of purchase. It’s not like a behavior that you have to change after doing it for so many years.” 

ATVs on the Farm

September 29, 2021

In this episode, we focus on ATV use on the farm and Dr. Jennissen talks about some of the common injuries from ATV farm incidents and which activities might increase the risk of injury.  “ATVs and side by sides were the most common source of injury and death in agriculture across youth, for those kids 17 years and younger, and was the second most common source of injury and death in agriculture for all ages.”

Episode Resources

Young ATV Riders

Published September 15, 2021

 
We continue our conversation with Dr. Jennissen on ATV safety. Adult-sized vehicles are designed for adults, so young rides may be unable to control them. “95% of all deaths of children on ATVs occur on an adult-sized ATV at the time of their crash and death.” Dr. Jennissen also talks about the risk involved with having a passenger on an ATV as most young ride with or as a passenger, increasing the risk of injury and death. 

ATVs on Roadways

Published September 1, 2021

 ATVs are designed for off-road use.  “They’re not really all-terrain…so when they’re on roadways, both paved and unpaved, they can have a very unpredictable relationship with the roadway surface- one tire can grab and all of a sudden- boom, the ATV is rolling over.”  Dr. Charles Jennissen is a pediatrician and emergency medicine physician who has been around ATVs for most of his life.  We talk with Dr. Jennissen in this episode about the way ATVs are designed and the risk involved with driving them on roads.  He also provides recommendations for staying safe if you have to be on the road with an ATV for farm work.

Introducing FarmSafe and the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health

Published August 20, 2021

Welcome to the FarmSafe podcast. Farming is a dangerous job and there are a variety of hazards involved. In this introductory episode, GPCAH researchers and partners talk about their work to help keep farmers safe and healthy.

Episode Resources

What do you want to hear on FarmSafe? Take the survey or email us at cph-greatplainscenter@uiowa.edu.

Agriculture Health and Safety: The Core Course

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This work was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health.  The content does not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC or NIOSH.

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