University of Nebraska Medical Center

Feedyard Ethnography

One way our research team can better understand the health and safety needs of feedyards is by spending time observing and asking questions about how feedyards work, along with the perspectives and experiences of workers and managers.  

Ryan Klataske, PhD is an anthropologist and trained ethnographer who has lived and worked in agricultural communities for much of his life. He has studied ranchers and raises cattle with his family in the Flint Hills of Kansas.

Dr. Ryan Klataske is an anthropologist and ethnographer who is working to better understand the safety and health of cattle feedyard workers. He is collaborating with the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center to study the perspectives, needs, experiences, and culture of feedyard workers. Contact us with questions or arrange a visit: agcenter@unmc.edu

Video Transcript

Ryan specializes in participant observation and open-ended interviews, which take place during ordinary work activities and informal conversations. This process looks similar to job shadowing as he gets to know managers and workers in their everyday environment. By listening and asking questions, Ryan will help to determine what people believe are important safety concerns, when and why injuries are thought to occur, the best times and methods for safety training, and all opinions on how to improve health and safety on feedyards. 

Ryan is NOT a safety inspector or auditor. By allowing Ryan to spend time on feedyards, the safety program can be tailored to the needs of the yard, and employees and managers will be able to influence future training. This research approach gives those involved a voice in improving health and safety. The process only requires a day (or a few days) and is very flexible.