MINNEAPOLIS — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced
funding to provide safety training for the more than 2 million youth working in
“Working on the farm or ranch is hard work, and it can also
be dangerous,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “By working together,
we can be sure that young people in rural America have the opportunity to reap
the many benefits of helping out on the farm, while also staying safe. Today’s
grant announcement expands our ongoing farm safety partnership and will help
further educate and protect young workers who represent the future of American
Ann Bartuska, USDA deputy undersecretary for research,
education and economics, made the announcement at the North American
Agricultural Safety Summit in Minneapolis.
“Agriculture is one of the most dangerous industries in the
nation,” she said. “As such, thousands of youth are injured and hundreds are
killed every year by hazards found on the farm As these youth play a vital role
in the productivity of American agriculture, USDA has a responsibility to the
education and resources needed to train youth in safe farming practices.”
USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture awarded
$600,000 to Pennsylvania State University to develop a national training
curriculum that lessens agricultural hazards to young workers. The training will
align with Career Cluster Standards of the National Council for Agricultural
Education for a unified approach to a national farm safety education and
curricula-certification program for youth.
The project will establish a national steering committee to
engage the Department of Education, Department of Labor, FFA, Farm Bureau,
Farmers Union, Ag Safety and Health Council of America, National Council for Ag
Education and other relevant partners. The committee will work to identify
curriculum and testing gaps, certification needs and industry-recognized
Curriculum materials will be placed on the eXtension website
in the new Ag Safety and Health
Community of Practice to be used in both formal and non-formal
settings. A national outreach strategy will promote use of the curriculum from
youth and farm safety instructors to parents and 4-H youth programs.
Additionally, the project will determine the resources
required to sustain a clearinghouse for national youth farm safety and education
curriculum, state certification requirements and testing.
NIFA made the award through the Youth Farm Safety Education
and Certification Program, which was established in 2001. Agricultural education
is an important part of an individual’s career and technical education. As such,
it needs to provide instruction that leads to industry-recognized credentials.
In addition, vocational agricultural program curricula need
to be aligned with current career standards and curricula that integrate
agricultural safety and health.
Through federal funding and leadership for research,
education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and
solving critical issues impacting people’s daily lives and the nation’s future.
More information is available at: www.nifa.usda.gov.