Farmworkers across the U.S. are essential workers, showing up every day so we can have food in our markets and on our tables.
Aside from the ongoing hazards caused by COVID-19 and a national drought, vulnerable farmers risk injury and illness when planting, spraying, harvesting, and caring for livestock. The risks of these hazards increase with long working hours and can be magnified where language and cultural differences exist.
In November, the Midwest Rural Agricultural Safety and Health Conference (MRASH) turns its attention to farm safety and health to shine a light on vulnerable workers in agriculture.
Every morning from Nov. 9 through 12, MRASH will lead discussions on topics such as stress, machinery safety, aging and young workers.
Assistant professor Athena Ramos from the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Public Health will moderate a keynote panel at 9 .m. Nov. 9.
“It is vital to recognize and better understand vulnerable populations working in agriculture so that we can improve outreach, education and services to meet the needs of this diverse workforce,” Ramos says. “I’m excited that we can provide a space for this discussion and enhance the visibility of some of the critical issues that affect worker well-being.”
Jan and Cornelia Flora, rural sociologists well-versed in issues of immigrant and indigenous individuals, will kick off the discussion portion of “Raising the Cloak of Invisibility for Vulnerable Populations.”
With this year’s virtual conference, registration is free for students, farmers, FFA/vo-ag instructors and health care workers.
MRASH organizers encourage all interested safety and health advocates to participate in the conference.
An online pre-conference workshop is set for 4 p.m. Nov. 8 to learn about a new tool for assessing farm safety.
A student career session will take place at 8:15 a.m. Nov. 10.
Poster sessions, roundtables and Q&A breakout sessions will create additional opportunities for attendees.
Visit icash.public-health.uiowa.edu/2021-mrash to register for the event.
MRASH is sponsored by Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-CASH), the University of Nebraska’s Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (CS-CASH) and the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health at the University of Iowa.