UNMC ag center announces renewed funding

A new funding award will allow the UNMC’s Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health to continue existing agricultural safety research and training efforts while exploring new initiatives to improve the lives of ag workers.

CS-CASH, at the UNMC College of Public Health, is one of 11 regional Centers for Agricultural Safety and Health to receive funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.  This competitive award will provide the center $9 million to conduct research, prevention measures and outreach over the next five years.

Award funds will support continuation of existing initiatives and new projects related to:

  • Outreach to agricultural workers with a focus on mental health, safe grain handling, tractor and equipment safety and animal handling safety. Special populations served by CS-CASH include young and aging workers, women in agriculture and immigrant and migrant workers. 
  • Surveys of agricultural injuries, illnesses and preventive practices in a seven-state region.
  • Improving safety culture on feed yards in the Midwest. 
  • Investigating stress among Latino immigrant farm workers.
  • Safety training of tribal bison herd workers.
  • Investigating the exposome and organic dust-induced lung injury.
  • Small grants to pilot and feasibility projects.
  • Evaluation of all center projects.

“NIOSH ag centers work collaboratively on national efforts and events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and projects such as the ag centers’ YouTube channel ,” said Jennifer Lincoln, PhD, NIOSH associate director for the Office of Agriculture Safety and Health. “At the same time, each center specializes in the distinct agricultural, forestry and fishing industries and worker safety and health needs of their region.”

“With investigators within the center who have expertise in agriculture, respiratory disease, injury surveillance and prevention, ag engineering, hearing conservation, livestock handling and vulnerable populations, as well as in training and education of farmers and health professionals, the center can use these funds to continue to serve the agricultural community by discovering causes of injury and illness and communicating information about prevention in ways that reach as many farmers and agricultural workers as possible,” said Risto Rautiainen, PhD, director of the center.

The NIOSH ag centers represent the institute’s largest extramural investment in agriculture, forestry and fishing research and outreach to further its mission of protecting and advancing the safety, health and well-being of the workers who produce food, fuel and fiber for our nation.

“For decades, the ag centers have been integral to our efforts to reduce injury and illness in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector,” NIOSH Director John Howard, MD, said.

The award is the third consecutive round of funding for CS-CASH since 2011.

CS-CASH serves a highly productive agricultural region: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri. The center, with a strong network of collaborators, provides regional leadership in research and outreach. In collaboration with advisors and partners, CS-CASH will continue to leverage the resources to address local, regional and national issues.

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