The Agricultural Health and Safety Network: The 10-year History of a Unique Extension Program

Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
  • Bidwell, Julie;
  • Dosman, James A.;
  • Hagel, Louise M.;
  • Lockinger, Lori A.;
  • Lupescu, Connie;
  • McDuffie, Helen H.


The Agricultural Health and Safety Network (the Network) is unique in North America. This extension program, aimed at preventing occupational illness and disability in Saskatchewan farmers, is funded and directed by rural municipal councils on behalf of their farming ratepayers. The Network was established in 1988 as a joint initiative between the Centre for Agricultural Medicine and the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities. Membership in the Network is voluntary and subject to an annual fee. Growth in membership has been sustained during the last 10 years in spite of the challenges of a strained economic environment in the agricultural sector and increasing pressure on the tax dollars available to rural municipalities. The original membership has grown from 1,000 farm families to over 21,500 farm families, approximately 38% of the farms in Saskatchewan. The evolution of the Network has been a study in cooperation, imagination, and determination. The challenge of developing and delivering targeted and effective prevention programs to groups of farmers in a widely dispersed geographical area remains. Models for successful program delivery at or near the farm gate have been developed, evaluated and standardized by Centre health processionals. The current rapid alteration of the rural landscape provides new challenges and opportunities as the Network moves into its second decade. The vision of an industry driven and self-supporting workplace health and safety program for farmers remains.

Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
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