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Release: April 17, 2001

I-CASH receives Wellmark grant to expand Certified Safe Farm program

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Iowa's Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-CASH) has received a $48,919 grant from the Wellmark Foundation to expand its Certified Safe Farm program in northwest Iowa.

The Certified Safe Farm program is administered through the AgriSafe clinic at Spencer Municipal Hospital in Spencer. The community-based research program encourages farmers to correct potential injury hazards on their farms and to adopt healthy lifestyle practices. Farmers complete an occupational health screening and receive health and safety education and on-farm safety reviews.

Following the review, each farmer receives a summary statement with recommended improvements. Once safety requirements are met, the farm is certified as a "safe" farm. Currently 281 farmers are enrolled in the program.

I-CASH specialists will use the grant to expand program participation to reach 100 additional farmers, as well as enhance reviewer training and design an evaluation tool to measure cost savings attributable to the project. The long-term goal is to help the Certified Safe Farm program move from a research project to a sustainable program available to farmers throughout the state and, eventually, the nation, according to Kelley Donham, D.V.M., I-CASH director.

The Wellmark Foundation is a private non-profit foundation created by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa and Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota. It has provided grants to health-related projects and other charitable programs in Iowa and South Dakota since 1992. The foundation awarded nearly $1 million for community health initiatives in both states in 2000.