When I was first asked to be a contributor to the Vermont Farm Safety blog, I have to admit the image that popped in my head took me back to my childhood. Growing up in rural Illinois, our television only had a few channels, one of which was PBS. One of my favorite shows on PBS was Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Geography absolutely fascinated me because 1) I didn’t leave Illinois much, and 2) I was curious what it would be like to see other places. My mom, a teacher by trade, encouraged my love of geography and bought me the board game, which I still have to this day.
It has been a long time since I’ve seen the show or played the game, but as a program specialist working for the United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, (formerly the Cooperative, State, Research, Education and Extension Service) my job allows me to travel around the country to connect with individuals who are dedicated to keeping farm families, workers, and farming communities safe.
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture addresses farm safety by supporting Cooperative Extension Service programs that train workers in appropriate field practices and equipment use and maintenance. Additionally, the AgrAbility Program and Youth Farm Safety Education and Certification programs strengthen that commitment to assist those with disabilities to remain employed in agriculture, ensure equal access to the agriculture profession for all workers, and to educate youth to avoid injuries and fatalities living and working around agriculture.
It is my hope that my contributions to the blog will give you my vantage point from the road and the exciting changes that will be occurring at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and impacts related to farm safety programs from my cubicle in Washington, DC.