Vilsack: Following through to keep our youth safe on the farm

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It’s no secret that agricultural work is tough work – and as America’s farm families know, it can be dangerous.  Last year, agriculture recorded the highest fatal injury rate of any industry, with the rate of on-the-job fatality in agriculture nearly seven times the rate for all U.S. workers.

Adding complexity to this challenge is the unique role that youth play on the farm and ranch.  Many farms and ranches are a family business. This important tradition strengthens American agriculture and instills important life skills for our young people.

Unfortunately, this means that young people also share in the hazards of farm work.  On average, more than 100 youth die each year in farm-related accidents.  Thousands more are injured on the farm or ranch.   

Every injury or death on the farm is tragic, and the involvement of a young person makes such accidents particularly difficult to bear.

That’s why the Federal government has sought to help families, farm groups and businesses ensure youth safety on the farm, while still enabling young people to have the important chance to work in agriculture.   Last year, USDA promised to address youth farm safety in innovative, comprehensive ways, working in partnership with folks from around the country. 

On September 25, we announced new plans to strengthen that commitment by developing a national training curriculum to reduce agricultural hazards to young workers.

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture awarded $600,000 over two years to Pennsylvania State University, which will work with partner universities and a broad range of agriculture and education organizations to develop this training curriculum. The result will provide a unified approach to national youth farm safety education, as well as a formalized effort to educate rural youth who are working on the farm or ranch. Overall, NIFA has provided nearly $2 million in funding under the Obama Administration to complement the good efforts of America’s farmer, rancher and producer organizations to improve youth farm safety. 

In addition to the benefits that these awards will bring for youth on the farm, this is another important reminder of the wide range of efforts NIFA carries out in partnership with Land Grant Universities. Folks across the country are counting on Congress to pass a comprehensive new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill that gives USDA and university partners across the nation continued tools to strengthen American agriculture.

In the years to come we’re committed to a common-sense approach to youth safety on the farm. The Departments of Agriculture and Labor will continue to coordinate closely with America’s producers and agriculture organizations on this and other farm safety efforts.

This challenge is critically important for our rural young people, and we must work together.  This week’s new effort will further expand USDA’s broad partnerships to improve farm safety. It will ensure that our young people can get the experience they need to keep American agriculture strong and abundant in the years to come, while staying safe and sound in the process.

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Florida  |  September, 28, 2013 at 02:37 PM

Good Lord; Welcome the EPA and OSHA to the family farm; The Federal Government has along record of totally screwing everything up and this promises to be another gigantic and costly boondoggle which will RUIN many family farms forever.

old dorgunr    
llano estacado  |  September, 29, 2013 at 06:42 AM

Exactly,Colonialgal. And let's not forget that the Dept of Agric is a political cesspool of environmentalists. All the agencies under its banner are rife with tree huggers and animal rights activists who are eager to train our youth that farming and ranching on private and public lands is evil. Just another attempt by government to supplant the teachings of the family. Definition of take the place of and serve as a substitute for especially by reason of superior excellance or power.

Arizona  |  September, 29, 2013 at 12:50 PM

Unfortunately ANY time the government says it's common sense it usually means they have no clue as to what they are talking about. These so called experts, MOST if not ALL have never set foot on a farm or ranch and don't know witch way to point a saddle or know how to even start a tractor will be making regulations that will do nothing but create more problems. These same idiots who cant run the post office without loosing money, and think they have to pass a bill to find out what is in it. Both ludicrous and INSANE.

Puerto Vallarta  |  September, 29, 2013 at 11:56 PM

It is not the business of government to be our nanny. We should be responsible for our actions, including learning to work safely. But once the camel's nose is under the tent our lives are not our own.

September, 30, 2013 at 06:45 AM

Obama is yanking Vilsacks puppet strings to clamp down on every possible angle. It only makes sense if we force every American to purchase expensive health insurance policies to swell the coffers of the insurance industry we sure as hell do not want people making expensive claims for health care. That's the main reason Vilsack wants to keep kids from exposure to any risk (he cares nothing for kids or farms or anything else except the agenda given him by his boss Obama) -- those young people are the gravy in the Obamacare ponzi scheme - youngsters are supposed to cough up and pay the way for older, less physically fit hypochondriacs. This Obama liberal socialist fiasco is only just beginning. Kiss your freedoms and your money goodbye - those are all vanishing into the insatiable maw of the nanny state.

Michigan  |  September, 30, 2013 at 08:42 AM

All the Federal Government can provide for the farm is fertilizer. Get out of our business!


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