Tag Archives: safety

The United Kingdom shouldn’t allow imports of food that fall short of the country’s own standards when it draws up trade agreements. That thought comes directly from the head of the UK’s National Farmers Union.

NFU President Minette Batters says domestic production standards should be used as a benchmark in trade talks. Business Times Dot Com says her comments signal that British farmers would face a setback if the government allows imports of products that are treated with certain chemicals or made using lesser animal-welfare rules.

After leaving the European Union last month, the UK is working on getting trade talks going with multiple nations that cover everything from food trade to data protection. “It’s not just about chlorinated chicken,” Batters says in a statement. “This is about a wider principle. We must not tie the hands of British farmers to the highest rung of the standards ladder while waving through food imports which may not even reach the bottom rung.”

As it has in America, trade uncertainty is weighing down UK farm sentiment, with one-year confidence falling to its third-lowest point since 2010.

(Washington, D.C, February 25, 2020) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the appointment of Paul Kiecker to serve as Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). Mr. Kiecker will be assuming the role following the departure of Administrator Carmen Rottenberg, who is departing federal service after a career spanning two decades.


“Ensuring the safety of America’s food supply is USDA’s most important responsibility, and one that Carmen carried out with dedication and vision. I know she will continue her passion for food safety in the private sector,” said Secretary Perdue. “Carmen is a true public servant and ushered in an era of modernization at the Food Safety and Inspection Service. This mission and drive will continue and advance with Paul Kiecker in his new leadership role. USDA’s food safety team is the best in the world and works tirelessly to safeguard the food we serve our families every single day.”


Carmen Rottenberg served as Administrator since May of 2018 but led the agency since August of 2017. As Administrator, Rottenberg spearheaded efforts to modernize the agency and implemented several key initiatives to target foodborne illness. Through her leadership and oversight, an unprecedented level of collaboration was achieved with federal, state and municipal agencies and other stakeholders.


“My colleagues in FSIS are among the best and brightest in federal government, and I am confident that the Agency will continue to “do right and feed everyone,” long after my last day in this office,” Carmen Rottenberg said. “Each and every day our FSIS team displays unparalleled commitment to decision making that is both protective of public health and supportable by science and data. They are public servants in the truest form of the term. It’s been a thrill and absolute joy to work with Secretary Perdue and this USDA team, and I’m so proud of all we have accomplished.”


“I am thankful to have had the opportunity to work so closely with Carmen over the past year,” said Deputy Under Secretary Mindy Brashears. “Her leadership and food safety expertise will be greatly missed within the Department, but I am excited to see her succeed in her new ventures ahead. As we move ahead into 2020, I am confident in the direction of the agency as we have experienced senior staff who are ready to step into new leadership roles.”



Paul Kiecker was named Deputy Administrator for the FSIS in May of 2018 and served as the Agency’s Acting Administrator until January of 2019. Throughout his 30 years with FSIS, he has been committed to a strong public health vision that has guided him to overcome obstacles, identify opportunities for improvement, manage resources efficiently, and achieve food safety objectives to prevent foodborne illness.


Since joining FSIS in 1988 as a food inspector, Kiecker has served in a number of roles at the agency, including Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Field Operations. He came to Washington, D.C. to serve as Executive Associate for Regulatory Operations, after serving as the District Manager in Springdale, AR and Madison, WI, as well as Deputy District Manager in Madison, WI. Kiecker’s experience with FSIS also includes work with the Office of Investigation, Enforcement, and Audit, where he has served as a Compliance Investigator and as Supervisory Compliance Officer.


The House of Representatives passed a bill that authorizes funding for more agriculture inspectors to work with U.S. Customs. The Hagstrom Report says the House passed the legislation, known as the Protecting America’s Food and Agriculture Act of 2019 after it had already passed the Senate.

“I’ve long raised the issue of inadequate staffing levels at the border,” says House Ag Committee Chair Collin Peterson. “It’s critical that we have enough CBP agriculture inspectors, specialists, and canine teams to protect our rural communities and our economy from foreign animal and plant pests and diseases.” A joint press conference featuring several representatives from agricultural states expressed happiness that the bill made it through both chambers of Congress.

The legislation authorizes the hiring of 240 new agriculture specialists and 200 agriculture technicians until staffing shortages are resolved. It also assigns 20 agriculture canine teams to prevent harmful pests and foreign animal diseases from getting into the United States. During the press conference, the lawmakers pointed out that the country faces a shortage of agricultural inspectors that could leave the U.S. ag industry vulnerable to diseases, pests, and other threats that could potentially devastate the American economy and affect the health and safety of millions of American people.

The most common cause of agricultural-related death in Nebraska is overturned tractors and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). Employing uncertified individuals under the age of 16 is a liability risk for farmers if those young people operate such equipment.

Susan Littlefield’s interview with Susan Harris-Broomfield click link below…


Nebraska Extension offers Tractor Safety Training for youth looking to become certified through a Hazardous Occupations Course. All youth, ages 14-15, working on a farm or ranch other than their own MUST be certified through a Hazardous Occupations Course. Anyone older than 15 is also welcome to attend these trainings, but those under 14 are not eligible. Extensive training on tractor and ATV safety occurs during in-class lessons with hands-on activities. Instilling an attitude of safety and respect for agricultural equipment is the primary goal of this course. Successful completion of the course will allow trained youth to operate a tractor over 20 horsepower, or to connect or disconnect an implement or any of its parts to or from a tractor.

The first day of classroom instruction includes hands-on demonstrations, concluding with a written test. Classroom instruction will cover the required elements of the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program. Students are required to pass the test before taking the driving test on day two. The second day will include a physical driving test with equipment operation and ATV safety lessons. To receive certification, students must demonstrate competence in hitching and unhitching equipment and driving a tractor and trailer through a standardized course. In all locations, instructors will offer an ATV simulator experience to learn about safe behaviors and laws for ATVs and UTVs. Students will also complete homework assignments for the second day.

Cost for the Nebraska Extension’s Tractor Safety training is $60. For more information, contact the site coordinator for your chosen location (below).

2020 Tractor Safety Training Schedule

Training Location Site Coordinator Training Dates*
Fairgrounds, Ord 308-728-5071 May 26-27
Fairgrounds, Wayne 402-375-3310 May 28-29
Fairgrounds, Weeping Water 402-267-2205 May 21-22
Plains Equipment, O’Neill 402-336-2760 June 1-2
Fairgrounds, Gordon 308-327-2312 June 3 (Day 1 online)
Evangelical Free, Ainsworth 402-387-2213 June 4-5
Fairgrounds, Geneva 402-759-3712 June 9-10
WCREC, North Platte 308-532-2683 June 13-14
Buffalo County Extension Office, Kearney 308-236-1235 June 16-17
Adams County Extension Office, Hastings 402-461-7209 June 18-19
Legacy Museum, Gering 308-632-1480 June 29-30

*All on-site classes begin at 8:00 AM. End times will vary depending on the number of participants.

The Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America (ASHCA) has announced eight individuals and organizations to be honored for leadership in agricultural safety as demonstrated through safety training, collaboration, promotion, education or research.

The awards will be presented on the first day of the North American Agricultural Safety Summit, March 19-20, at Bally’s of Las Vegas. The summit, hosted by ASHCA, will feature top safety experts, mentoring opportunities and a unique agricultural safety learning lab.

“We established these safety awards to highlight effective and efficient practices that enhance worker safety within agriculture,” said Jess McCluer, board chair of ASHCA, and vice president of safety and regulatory affairs at the National Grain and Feed Association. “Not only is safety important for individual employees, but it also is one of the key business excellence areas that determine long-term sustainability.”

Life time achievement award: William Nelson, retired from CHS Foundation; consultant. Nelson was the first and longest-serving chair of the ASHCA Board of Directors. As the director of the CHS Foundation he facilitated a major initiative by CHS to dedicate $3 million to national efforts to improve agricultural safety and health through several organizations and regional grants.

Policymaker/legislator: Sen. James Seward, New York. Seward has served in the New York State Legislature for more than three decades with tireless service to the farm community, including being a champion for the New York Rollover Protection Structure (ROPS) Rebate Program.

Agribusiness Leader: Janice Klodowski, Agri-Services Agency. Klodowski is VP of Agri-Services Agency, a leader of the workers compensation captive and a constant supporter and advocate for safety in agriculture, beyond her “day job” at ASA. She served on the ASHCA Board of Directors for eight years.

Agricultural Organization:

  1. Washington State Dairy Association – Scott Dilley:The oldest dairy trade association in the U.S. has been prioritizing the health and safety of dairy workers in Washington state for the past six years. They have integrated safety content into their annual meetings, consulting services and with academic partners to improve training and practice.

  1. Farmworker Association of Florida — Jeannie Economos and Dr. Antonio Tovar:a stateside grassroots organization of 10,000-plus members that works in vegetable, citrus, mushroom, sod, fern and foliage industries. Through many different partnerships they have gathered data on workplace hazards and acceptable safety solutions, then provide outreach to facilitate protections for agricultural employees, including training more the 5,000 farm workers in safety.

Educator: Robert Aherin, retired, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Aherin has a 38-year career in agricultural safety and health research and outreach, with numerous examples of leadership and commitment to the farming community. He established and grew the UIUC bachelor’s and master’s level degrees and directly taught about 70,000 agricultural workers through training programs.

Health Care Provider: Charlotte Halverson, RN, AgriSafe Network. Halverson is the clinical director of AgriSafe, planning and providing agricultural health training for rural health care providers and others for nearly 20 years. She has launched several initiatives for AgriSafe including their new Nurse Scholar program.

WCF Insurance Research to Practice Collaboration Award: Idaho Dairymen’s Association. Safety Director Ryan Dewitt and CEO Rick Naerebout successfully introduced the National Dairy Farm Safety Program to dairies throughout Idaho via consulting services, worker training with I-pads, onsite training and compliance assistance. They took a proactive approach by working with researchers Dave Douphrate and Robert Hagevoort, affiliated with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-funded High Plains Intermountain Center for Ag Health and Safety to test, evaluate, refine and sustain a safety program that has now reached more than 2,000 hired workers in Idaho.

The summit, “Raising Safety 2020: Cultivating a Culture of Safety,” will feature:

  • A fast-paced program with plenary and break-out sessions.
  • A pre-conference learning lab (March 18) with hands-on demonstrations of safety resources and training programs.
  • Opportunities for networking during receptions, breaks and roundtables.
  • Mentoring for first-time attendees and early career agricultural risk managers.
  • Awards luncheon acknowledging safety achievements of individuals and companies.
  • Research poster session with lightning talks.

For the full agenda, and to register as an attendee, sponsor or exhibitor, go to http://ashca.org/2020-safety-summit/.  Early bird registration deadline is Jan. 31, with the regular registration period ending Feb. 28. Late registrations will be taken through the event.