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Blood pressure and skin cancer assessments are among the available services.

Curt Arens, Editor, Nebraska Farmer

August 18, 2022

2 Min Read
A nursing student from UNMC College of Nursing takes the blood pressure of Gov. Pete Ricketts during the 2021 Husker Harvest
CHECK IT OUT: A nursing student from UNMC College of Nursing takes the blood pressure of Gov. Pete Ricketts during the 2021 Husker Harvest Days event. Free health screenings are a big part of HHD and its partners giving back to the community. Mindy Ward

Health screenings may not be on the radar as an important use of time for farmers and ranchers, but nothing could be further from the truth.

For many years, health screenings have been a crucial component — along with exhibits and displays on rural safety and health — of the Nebraska Farmer Hospitality Tent at Husker Harvest Days.

These health exhibits and booths — along with blood pressure and skin cancer screenings — are often buzzing with activity as producers and visitors file through the area.

About 80 to 90 nursing students from the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing, from Kearney and Lincoln, play a key role in the health screenings, which provide learning opportunities for the students and wellness checks for visitors.

Nurse practitioners assist

The students typically provide blood pressure checks and help with promotion of farm safety materials. In addition, there will be a nurse practitioner on-site to assist with skin cancer screenings.

The students helping with these screenings go through simulation learning to prepare for working in outdoor settings. They have time for guided learning at the showgrounds to gain greater understanding of rural culture.

Typically, 1,000 to 1,200 people are screened for blood pressure, and 600 receive skin screenings each year at the show. Some who received such screenings have returned and told instructors that a skin screening caused them to follow up with a dermatologist, who in turn treated that person for stage 4 skin cancer.

Others have taken their blood pressure numbers from the show to their practitioner and, after further assessment, started treatment for dangerously high blood pressure.

There is no statistical information to back up these claims, but there is no question that the health information and screenings at Husker Harvest Days bring health and wellness to the forefront for farmers and their families, and may alert these visitors to impending health concerns.

Agencies at your service

The following agencies will provide information to attendees at the Nebraska Farmer Hospitality Tent:

  • Farm Rescue

  • Progressive Ag Safety

  • Central Nebraska NAMI


  • Rural Response Hotline

  • Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

  • Nebraska SHIP

  • Nebraska AgrAbility

  • Funk Medical and Mobility

  • CHI Health

  • Central States Center of Ag Safety and Health

  • University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing

  • Nurse Practitioners

  • Central District Health Department

About the Author(s)

Curt Arens

Editor, Nebraska Farmer

Curt Arens began writing about Nebraska’s farm families when he was in high school. Before joining Farm Progress as a field editor in April 2010, he had worked as a freelance farm writer for 27 years, first for newspapers and then for farm magazines, including Nebraska Farmer.

His real full-time career, however, during that same period was farming his family’s fourth generation land in northeast Nebraska. He also operated his Christmas tree farm and grew black oil sunflowers for wild birdseed. Curt continues to raise corn, soybeans and alfalfa and runs a cow-calf herd.

Curt and his wife Donna have four children, Lauren, Taylor, Zachary and Benjamin. They are active in their church and St. Rose School in Crofton, where Donna teaches and their children attend classes.

Previously, the 1986 University of Nebraska animal science graduate wrote a weekly rural life column, developed a farm radio program and wrote books about farm direct marketing and farmers markets. He received media honors from the Nebraska Forest Service, Center for Rural Affairs and Northeast Nebraska Experimental Farm Association.

He wrote about the spiritual side of farming in his 2008 book, “Down to Earth: Celebrating a Blessed Life on the Land,” garnering a Catholic Press Association award.

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