The federal government in the United States has a special place in being able to provide both federal and local advice and help with specific focus on the agricultural industry. This applies both to advice and guidance in a theoretical sense about all business activities, and in a specific sense to dedicated areas of the agricultural and farming industry.
Agricultural safety and health centres, come under the brief of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Health and safety on farms is a major issue, and this government agency focuses on research and policies regarding the prevention of all workplace injuries on a national level, including agriculture.
Agricultural safety and health centers take this work one stage further, providing help at a more local level, albeit still in a very wide geographical area. Some of the centres based in Washington, California, Colorado, Texas, Kentucky, New York and Ohio.
There are a few other centres as well and their work may even be subcontracted further down the line if necessary. The intent is to be able to provide more localised information and help on a geographical basis, and each center may decide on specific ways of doing this.
Their main role is to provide safety education programs, that take into account the broad locality of where they are based, and can thereby focus on specific issues that have a local bearing.
They are an excellent resource because they can combine both federal and local experience and policies, targeted much more specifically around the locality of an area.
The National Children’s Centre for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety is a dedicated centre, which as its name implies focuses on providing farm safety in relation to children.
Unlike a lot of other industries, the use of children and young people in agricultural work is still seen as a really good thing, providing valuable experience for young people in a safe environment, providing holiday jobs, and often lifestyle and community experience.
Many young people who work on farms also live there, either as part of the family who own the farm, or as part of a family who work there.
In any event, it is acknowledged there needs to be a special focus on how best to protect children and young people in terms of workplace safety, in ways that do not necessarily apply to other businesses.
This agency oversees that, and try to develop a framework that allows children and young people to grow up and be involved in the nature of the work in a safe and appropriate manner.
The United States Consumer Production Safety Commission is a regulatory agency whose focus is on setting standards for consumers to have confidence in, in terms of the safety of all products within the industry.
This agency tries to work closely with farmers and producers of agricultural products in order to achieve this. It is in everyone’s interests that consumers feel safe in the products they are buying, and this can be an ongoing challenge for the farming and agricultural industry.
The other main government agency worth mentioning is the Environmental Protection Agency. This agency has a broad remit to protect all areas of the environment, most notably the air, water and natural resources of the United States.
This agency has responsibility for overseeing and implementing laws and regulations that apply to pesticides and air and water pollution.
There can be heavy financial penalties if these regulations are not adhered to, and it can be a major challenge for many farms and agricultural businesses to make sure that all their business practices conform to current legislation.
The EPA should not be thought of as purely being a policeman enforcing government law.
It can also be a very effective resource for providing help and advice on what laws and regulations apply particular environment or area, and advising farmers on how best to meet their responsibilities.
Dealing with all types of pollution, either airborne or waterborne it is a responsibility that everyone working in the industry has, and in an ideal world would want to adhere to.
Business pressures can often lead to people taking shortcuts in the hope of getting away with it. This sadly does happen, although hopefully infrequently. It is important that all these government agencies work in a collective and collaborative manner in order to both support and regulate all farms and agricultural practices throughout the country.