Virginia Farm Bureau Safety Education and Outreach Program

For many years the American Farm Bureau Federation and many state Farm Bureau organizations employed farm safety specialists to conduct farm safety education and outreach activities. In 1993, with changing agricultural production and economics, the American Farm Bureau Federation discontinued its safety programs. Many state Farm Bureaus also dropped their safety programs. An exception was the Virginia Farm Bureau (VFB), which during the same period implemented a multi-pronged statewide farm safety community education and outreach program funded by the Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company. The key aims of this two-year case study of the VFB program were to

  1. Share, review, and discuss the Kentucky ROPS Notebook with VFB leaders and staff to assist their adoption, adaptation, and incorporation of selected aspects of the Notebook’s methods and materials into their statewide efforts to promote installation of ROPS and seatbelts on farm tractors.
  2. Assist VFB in planning and implementing a ROPS and seatbelt intervention effort in three Shenandoah Valley counties with high rates of tractor overturn deaths.
  3. Conduct a workshop for Farm Bureau Federation and Farm Bureau Insurance leaders from 14 states to demonstrate the Kentucky ROPS Notebook materials and methods and to equip all the participants with hard and CD copies of the Notebook. (This group of professionals, which became known as the Farm Bureau Safety Network, was organized with the intention of reestablishing state level Farm Bureau leadership in promoting farm and community safety.)
  4. Conduct a case study of four VFB safety education and outreach programs to assess their impact on hazard and injury reduction, their public health impact, the cost of these programs, and their cost effectiveness for the VFB Mutual Insurance Company and for the farmers and farm community members served.
  5. Conduct a second workshop for the members of the Farm Bureau Safety Network from 23 states to present the VFB case study safety program methods, findings, and cost-effectiveness data as models for other states.

This study found that the VFB safety and education outreach program is a model with potential for adaptation by other organizations in other states as a means to reduce injuries and to lower costs for farmers, insurers, and farm communities. This grassroots, “bottom up” program returned savings of more than $11 for each dollar invested in safety education and outreach. It also made significant contributions to the public health and productivity of farm communities.

For more information contact the Principal Investigator: Henry P. Cole, EdD Professor of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health, Emeritus Professor of Educational Psychology, University of Kentucky Southeast Center for Agricultural Health and Injury Prevention, Suite 102, 1141 Red Mile Road Lexington, KY 40504 Phone: (859) 323-6836