The Duplin Center-N.C. Cooperative Extension was selected to collaborate in a two-year grant targeting safety and improved health for the local agricultural community, and its success earned an award for excellence.
Earlier this year, the grant team was named as the 2011 North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service Foundation Grange Search for Excellence Award winner citing the success of this grant program. They were selected as honorees in the Agriculture and Natural Resources Team category and their recognition announced recently at the Southeast District NCCE Conference hosted in Duplin County. The North Carolina State Grange and North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service Foundation sponsor this award.
The North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission awarded the $500,000 grant to expand the AgriSafe Network of North Carolina program and to establish the Certified Safe Farm program for North Carolina agriculture. Project leaders included Dr. Greg Cope, associate professor and campus coordinator for agromedicine at North Carolina State University; Robin Tutor, interim director of the North Carolina Agromedicine Institute, a partnership of East Carolina University, N.C. State University and North Carolina A&T State University; and Dr. Ed Jones, associate director and state program leader with N.C. Cooperative Extension.
The program was initially offered in Johnston, Duplin and Sampson where Cooperative Extension agents received special training in conducting on-farm safety reviews, as part of the Certified Safe Farm of North Carolina program. During these one-on-one reviews, farmers received tailored recommendations for safety improvements on their farms.
The long-term goal was to develop health and liability insurance discounts for farmers who successfully participate in the AgriSafe and Certified Safe Farm programs. In addition, project worked with advisors to explore other incentives, such as a cost-sharing fund to help offset the costs of making high-priority safety improvements on farms.
The N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission awarded the grant to the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation, with a subcontract to East Carolina University. Project partners were the Tri-County Community Health Council and the N.C. Cooperative Extension centers of Johnston, Duplin and Sampson Counties.