FReSH: Farm & Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health

Featuring expert advice from Extension, academics, farmers and others, this website offers a clearinghouse of useful ag safety and health information.

By Nancy Dorman-Hickson

Staying safe on the farm remains a top concern for farm families and employees. “Anybody that’s been involved with agriculture probably knows somebody that’s been injured or killed,” says Aaron Yoder of the University of Nebraska. He and other Extension and agricultural staff from Pennsylvania State University and Utah State University administer a helpful web site to help prevent farm tragedy.

Called FReSH (Farm & Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health), the clearinghouse site at www.extension.org/agsafety features Community of Practice (CoP) information from experts across the U.S., Canada and Australia. The FReSH administrators aggregate what they determine to be credible ag safety and health practices, as well as research from sources that include the Cooperative Extension System, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and Farm Safety For Just Kids.

The site offers fact sheets, videos, references, calendar of events, courses, webinars and more. Coming later this year, FReSH is integrating related information about food systems and climate change, as well as wearable technology. For instance, Yoder cites his involvement in a project looking at how wearing smart watches and fitness bands could indicate when to take a break based on heart rates and hydration levels.

People in agriculture “are bogged down with many other things,” Yoder says. “Having one place they can get the information easily and quickly is very valuable.”