Ag Health & Safety Alliance Focuses on Farm and Ranch Safety Hazards
With long hours at stake, weather factors, and intense physical labor, agriculture is one of the most dangerous industries in the United States. With a nursing degree in her back pocket and agriculture experience in the forefront, Carolyn Sheridan, founder of Ag Health and Safety Alliance, has been educating, partnering, consulting, and collaborating on agriculture health and safety for many years.
Sheridan was born and raised on a dairy farm in Northwest Iowa and continues to still farm today. During her time as a registered nurse in a rural Northeast Iowa hospital, Sheridan spent six weeks taking courses on agricultural health and safety from the University of Iowa. Shortly after taking the six weeks course, Sheridan says she recognized the immediate need for health and safety education for the next generation of agriculture.
“I decided about four years ago I needed to have an organization that would focus primarily on educating the next generation of agriculture,” Sheridan says. To do so, the Ag Health and Safety Alliance was founded as a nonprofit corporation with programs in the United State and Canada.
Sheridan said the team’s goal is to present on-site presentations to colleges, high schools or other educational groups in a creative, fun, and exciting way to educate on ag health and safety. Many of the partnerships of the program included individuals and organizations interested in educating the next generation at a local, regional, national and international level.
“Even if you’re a non-profit organization, it takes money to run an organization and to travel, develop great resources and now online programming,” Sheridan says. The program partners with Ag Health and Safety Alliance can be found on the website, aghealthandsafety.com.
Like many had to do, the pandemic caused the team to shift and adapt. Sheridan says many colleges they work with had already gone to Zoom or Whip, so the team just moved their program to an outline format.
With educating the next generation of the industry on health and safety as their priority, the Ag Health and Safety Alliance is a one-stop shop for application safety training, conference presentations, online resources, and for their most important program: Gear Up for Ag Health and Safety.
Just recently, Sheridan says she traveled to Denver for a Pesticide Applicators Certification Training where she was the speaker and conducted the fit test training. Sheridan says a few other examples of services and training the team provides are training for medical field professionals, pre-harvest training and many more.
As previously mentioned, the Gear Up for Ag program focuses on educating the next generation of agriculture by interacting with college-age agriculture students. “The program starts with a 30-question survey, allowing me to know the percentage of students who wear respirations, we have maybe rolled an ATV and more,” Sheridan says. This then allows us the team to narrow in their education on specific issues and concerns when traveling across the United State to different colleges and organizations.
Harvest safety and new program development are on the horizon for the Ag Health and Safety Alliance team, Sheridan says. “We continue to focus on the safety in each season for the industry, as well as helping people be healthy and safe more globally.”
As harvest approaches quickly, Sheridan reminds everyone to have a safe harvest and take care of your health, safety and your family.
To learn more about the services, training and educational programs the Ag Health and Safety Alliance team offers, visit aghealthandsafety.com In addition, the website provides information on the team, partnerships, programs, geographical outreach and additional resources. Contacting the Ag Health and Safety Alliance team for training and educational seminars can be done through the website.
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