New resource features agritourism health and safety guidelines
Agritourism allows farmers to supplement their income while providing the public fresh food, enjoyment and education.
But the petting zoos, corn mazes and U-pick fields that attract children and their families pose health and safety considerations.
"Agritourism: Health and Safety Guidelines for Children" is a new, user-friendly resource written for agritourism operators large and small; and for long-term operations as well as farmers who might host a one-time event.
The full-color, 37-page guidelines booklet was published by the National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, a program of the National Farm Medicine Center at Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation. The project was funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Agritourism is growing nationwide and the increasing number of requests for guidance compelled the National Children's Center to address the topic, said lead author Michael Humann, M.S., agricultural health and safety research specialist, National Children's Center.
"The guidelines are the first to be developed applying specifically to children," Humann said. "They were developed over a 14-month period with input from two dozen agricultural health and safety professionals and agritourism operators across the country."
The booklet includes tips on identifying and reducing hazards found on farms, such as those involving animals, water, machinery and hygiene. Convenient checklists help owners implement recommendations before visits by agritourists.
"Farms are wonderful places for city and non-farm children to visit, providing an excellent learning experience," said co-author Barbara Lee, Ph.D., director of the National Children's Center. "Our objective is to help the farm owner make this experience as enjoyable and safe as possible for children."