Strategies for Farmers and Farmworkers

Written By: Leah Chester-Davis, Robin Tutor-Marcom, Scott Lee

The N.C. Agromedicine Institute has a number of programs designed to reduce injury and illness on the farm. The Institute works with individual farmers and groups across the state.

It pays to check them out! They can work with you on simple strategies to improve your health to giving you information on a discount program that farmers can tap into to purchase personal protective equipment such as gloves, hearing protection, safety glasses, and respirators at North Carolina government contract rates through a special arrangement with Grainger.

Here is a highlight of what the Institute has to offer:

Tape & Twine – A new program the Institute is launching provides farmers and their families with practical solutions for dealing with farm stress.  Contact Robin Tutor-Marcom, Institute director, at or 252-744-1008.

Fit to Farm – Individuals are given simple strategies to help them put their health first. The program stresses self-care by considering what foods you eat, getting more exercise, and avoiding skipping meals. “With mechanization, farmers are in their truck, tractor, and four-wheelers. We’ve seen less physical activity. Taking 30 minutes to walk, go to the gym, play basketball with the kids or grandkids can reduce stress and is good for physical health,” says Tutor-Marcom. Contact Jessica Wilburn, AgriSafe-NC Nurse coordinator, at or 252-744-1008.

AgriSafe – Trained health professionals conduct health screenings and check for general wellness and specific occupational health conditions. They also assist in the selection, fit, and use of personal protective equipment to prevent occupational illness or injuries. AgriSafe also offers support services related to issues such as insurance coverage, caring for aging family members, and stress associated with agricultural operations. For more information contact Jessica Wilburn at or 252-744-1008.

Certified Safe Farm – A safety review expert conducts an on-farm safety review designed to help prevent injury and save lives. On-farm safety reviews are not shared with any agency. Health providers are also available to conduct occupational health and wellness screenings. To schedule a safety review, contact LaMar Grafft, associate director, at or 252-744-9542.

First on Scene – Farming is one of the most dangerous occupations. Being prepared to handle emergencies can help reduce stress and can help save lives. This program teaches individuals who are first on the scene of a farm incident how to respond safely to get care for the injured person and to avoid becoming the second or third victims. In addition to offering programs to farmers and farm workers, the Institute offers programs to EMS personnel and firefighters. Contact LaMar Grafft at or 252-744-9542.

Grain Safety/Grain Rescue – Farmers, farm workers, firefighters, and first responders learn about the hazards of grain bins, safe grain handling strategies, and hands-on rescues techniques.  Contact LaMar Grafft at or 252-744-9542.

AgrAbility – This program provides individuals who are farming with a disability with education and assistance they need to minimize obstacles that limit independence and productivity on the farm and in daily life. Contact Beatriz (Betty) Rodriguez at or 336-285-4680. Learn more at

Child Health and Safety in Agritourism – Agritourism invites the public onto your farm. This program shares helpful guidelines and resources to reduce the risk of injury to visitors to the farm. Contact Robin Tutor-Marcom at or 252-744-1008.

Risk Mitigation Measures & Worker Protection Standard Respiratory Protection Compliance – Medical clearance, respirator fit tests, selection care, and purchase of respirators and other personal protective equipment to comply with EPA’s Risk Mitigation Measures for Soil Fumigants and Worker Protection Standards for mixers, loaders, handlers, and applicators comprise this program. Contact Cynthia Smith, AgriSafe-NC Nurse at or 252-744-1008

To learn more about these programs and when/where they may be offered across the state, visit If you prefer an individualized program for your farm, inquire about those services at 252-744-1008 or