Risto Rautiainen, Ph.D., Aaron Yoder, Ph.D., and Ellen Duysen, the outreach team for the UNMC Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (CS-CASH), conducted a weeklong agriculture safety and health training for 46 Rwandan students involved in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Undergraduate Scholarship Program-Rwanda (CUSP).
The training, normally conducted in person at UNL's Rogers Memorial Farm, was moved to an interactive online format. Along with receiving information on prevention of agricultural injuries and fatalities, students spent time learning about ergonomics and the health benefits of "Yoga on the Farm" with Linda Emanuel of the AgriSafe Network. A virtual farm tour was hosted by UNL extension engineer Paul Jasa and farm manager Stuart Hoff. A "try it on" session allowed students to learn how to properly wear the personal protective equipment that was supplied to each student by CS-CASH.
Students in the CUSP program pursue a bachelor's degree in integrated science focused on conservation agriculture, entrepreneurship, leadership, and innovative thinking. The program is aligned with the areas of need as identified by the Rwandan Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources. UNL's program aligns with the Rwandan government's Vision 2020 initiative that strives to reach a middle-income economy by 2020 through investments in the agricultural sector.
The weeklong training provided the students with the skills and knowledge to work safely and the determination to carry the "safety first" message into their agricultural careers.