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Join University of Illinois experts who will share the latest research and recommendations monthly for staying safe and healthy while working in agriculture. When you register, you will be signed up for the entire webinar series covering machinery safety, infectious diseases, grain hazards, tractor safety, heat illness, and mental health. The webinar series provides practical tips and best practices for farmers, ranchers, and agricultural workers to protect themselves, their families, and their operations. This webinar series is co-sponsored by the UIUC Agricultural Safety & Health Program.

Tentative schedule

Jan 30: Why is Agricultural Safety Important?

Review of characteristic of the farms that make them vulnerable, history of agricultural safety, and costs of injuries in agricultural settings.

Feb 20: Preventing the Spread of Infectious Disease on Farms, Ranches and Ag Workplaces

Farmers, ranchers, and ag operators were deemed ‘essential’ during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learning how to protect employees, families, clients, and the community evolved throughout the pandemic and uncertainty was often difficult to navigate. In the webinar, we hope to bring forward some of the lessons learned during the pandemic and help share strategies for responding to infectious disease outbreaks in the future.

Mar 19: Research and Strategies for Grain Entrapment Prevention

We will explore the world of grain safety, shedding light on various types of incidents and the alarming statistics surrounding them. We will delve into the immense pressure exerted by grain, a contributing factor to the severity of injuries and tragic fatalities. Throughout the session, we will uncover effective strategies designed to eliminate the need for entering grain bins, reducing the likelihood of entrapments. Finally, we will discuss methods for removing grain in case of an out-of-condition grain scenario, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of how to mitigate these life-threatening situations.

April 16: Farmworker safety and Health

Farm work presents many hazards that can lead to injury, illness, and even death. This webinar focuses on the unique risks faced by agricultural workers, including migrant and hired laborers, and ways to protect their safety and health. We will discuss common issues like pesticide exposure, musculoskeletal disorders, transportation incidents, and lack of adequate housing. You'll learn practical tips for creating a culture of safety, training workers (including seasonal, migrant, and hired laborers), and implementing best practices to protect all workers in your agricultural operation.

May 21: How will Technology Shape the Farm of the Future

Discussion of current and upcoming technology that will change the way we farm. This includes discussions on Internet of Things, Autonomous Machinery, Sensors, and Livestock handling. We will discuss how each of these technologies will contribute to a safer and more productive farm. We will also cover what are the risks of these technologies and safety concerns that need to be addressed.

June 18: Heat stress & illness

Explanation of how heat exposure affects agricultural workers and effective strategies for prevention. Reviews risk factors, early symptoms, treatment, workplace controls like rest breaks and hydration, and personal protective measures when working in hot conditions.

July 16: Illinois injury surveillance efforts

Overview of agriculture-related injury and illness tracking programs active in Illinois. Will cover data collection methods, trends identified, and how surveillance information guides prevention initiatives for the agriculture community.

Aug 20: Farm Safety for Youth: Keeping the Next Generation Safe

Children and teens make up a significant portion of injuries and fatalities in agriculture. This webinar looks at why young people are uniquely vulnerable to farm hazards. We will review child labor laws and resources for legally employing youth in agriculture. You'll learn about equipment risks, and key safety practices to prevent farm incidents. We'll also cover effective ways to train young workers and ensure safe behaviors around your farm or ranch.

Sep 17: Addressing Mental Stress & Health in Agriculture

Farming and ranching are filled with stressors like financial pressures, uncertain conditions, long hours, and social isolation. This webinar focuses on mental health challenges common in agriculture and ways to foster resilience and wellbeing. We will discuss signs and symptoms of conditions like anxiety, depression, and suicide risk. You'll gain strategies for managing stress, building social connections, and finding help when needed. We aim to reduce stigma around mental illness and enable farmers and ranchers to access mental health resources.

Oct 15: Resources for Farmers in Crisis

When injury, illness, or natural disasters strike, farmers and ranchers need help to continue operating. This webinar highlights two key resources for farmers in crisis. We will explain the Farm Rescue program which plants, harvests, hauls, and does chores for free when farmers have an emergency. We'll also cover the AgrAbility program helping agriculture workers with disabilities. You'll learn who qualifies, what services are offered, and how to request assistance from these essential non-profits serving the ag community.

Nov 19: Future of Ag Safety: How AI will transform Agriculture

This final webinar looks ahead at emerging technologies and innovations that will transform safety in agriculture. We will showcase cutting-edge research around autonomous equipment, wearable tech, telematics, and digital training tools. You'll gain insights into how these futuristic solutions could monitor risks, prevent incidents, and improve health outcomes for agricultural workers. We'll discuss how farmers, researchers, and policymakers can collaborate to fully realize the safety benefits of new ag technologies.

Register Here.