Over 250 participants attended a Farmworker Safety Day yesterday at Cline Church Nursery in Ashe County. Over 190 farmworkers from Ashe, Watauga, Alleghany, and Avery rotated through stations covering pesticide safety, health & first aid, chainsaw safety, backpack sprayer maintenance, hazardous farm plants and critters, heavy equipment safety, and local laws/customs. Watauga & Avery Farm Bureau, Carolina Farm Credit, and Southern Ag sponsored this event which was organized by Watauga & Ashe Cooperative Extension and the North Carolina Agromedicine Institute.
Presenters included: Katie Gray, a naturalist from Grandfather Mountain, Denny Paternak and Jimmy Cox from the NC Highway Patrol, Russel Choate from the NC Division of Forest Resources, Keith Eller from the Upper Mountain Research Station, Emily Dixon and her staff from the Farmworker Health Program, Jill Sidebottom & Jeff Owen, conifer specialists from NC Cooperative Extension, Cliff Parker, an ag liability and crop insurance consultant, and Ritchie Gardener from CPS.
Translators were on hand at each station, as a majority of the farmworker participants were Spanish-speakers from the Christmas tree and landscaping industries.