Partnership to Promote Farm Safety

January 18, 2016

Ball, May, Hanehan.pngThe New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, New York Farm Bureau (NYFB) and New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH) have announced the establishment of a fund to help New York farmers enhance safety on the farm. 

“We’re excited to integrate this program into the portfolio of health and safety services we offer to the agricultural community,” said NYCAMH’s Director, Julie Sorensen, Ph.D. The John May Farm Safety Fund fills a gap in services to small farms, where slim profit margins often make it difficult to do more than what is needed to keep the farm running every day”. 

The Farm Safety Fund established by NYCAMH, a program of Bassett Healthcare Network, honors the organization’s co-founder and longtime director Dr. John May and will assist New York farmers who need financial help improving safety on their farms. As the first program of its kind in New York State, this cost- sharing program will allow farmers to make lifesaving safety upgrades by paying for 50 percent of the cost of the proposed project up to a $5,000 maximum. Farmers can apply for any type of safety upgrade on their farm, from fixing electrical systems in a barn and repairing cracked bunker silo walls to ensuring the farm has proper signage in hazardous areas. 

New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “With the continued growth of the agricultural industry and our efforts to encourage the next generation of farmers, it’s even more important than ever that we support farm safety programs like the John May Safety Fund. It is our hope that this grant fund administered by NYCAMH will bring attention to the importance of much needed safety projects and upgrades, and we encourage the agricultural community to take advantage of these newly available resources.” 

The new program announced by NYCAMH is geared towards smaller farms of all commodities. Applications to the program may be submitted at any time and may be obtained online at www.nycamh.org, by calling NYCAMH at (800) 343-7527 or by emailing info@nycamh.org. The number of awards and the award amount will be determined by NYCAMH on a first-come, first-served basis. 

“NYCAMH provides an essential service for farms across New York,” said Steve Ammerman, New York Farm Bureau Manager of Public Affairs. “The efforts to improve safety and working conditions for both farmers and their employees has, no doubt, saved lives and reduced the number of injuries. New York Farm Bureau is a strong supporter of NYCAMH’s work and is hopeful our members will take advantage of the new grant program to make farms in this state even better places to work.” 

Since its founding in the early 1980’s, NYCAMH has established a farmer’s clinic to help diagnose and treat farm related injuries and illnesses, developed a NYS ROPS Rebate Program that has retrofitted over 1,400 tractors with rollover protection, and performed hundreds of on-farm safety trainings to thousands of farm workers.

Dr. May co-founded and directed NYCAMH from the early 80’s through 2015 and his work in promoting safety measures has given him a national reputation in his field. Even as he prepares to retire, Dr. May receives glowing remarks on his work within the industry. “Dr. May has become an icon in the field of agricultural health and safety and is nationally recognized for his dedication and passion for improving the health and safety of farmers,” said Dr. Sorenson, who is taking over daily responsibilities at NYCAMH. 

Martin Hanehan, co-owner of Turning Point Dairy in Saratoga Springs where the Farm Safety Fund was formally announced, noted, “Turning Point Dairy strives for a safe environment on the farm. This is not an easy task. With NYCAMH and the help they have offered our farm, we have become a more safety conscious farm. NYCAMH has also helped us with our OSHA training and compliance. We thank NYCAMH and the staff and hope they can continue to offer this invaluable service.” 

About NYCAMH

NYCAMH was established in the early 1980’s by Dr. John May and Dr. David Pratt, pulmonologists at The Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, NY. Initially known as the Bassett Farm and Safety Health Project, it was officially designated the New York Center for Agriculture and Medicine in 1988 with a mission of enhancing agricultural and rural health by preventing and treating occupational injury and illness. Learn more at www.nycamh.org.

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