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UC Davis Ag Center Honors Sacramento County Farm Bureau

September 30, 2008

The Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety at UC Davis recently bestowed its first Outstanding Achievement in Farm Health and Safety Recognition Award on the Sacramento County Farm Bureau in honor of that organization's efforts to promote farm safety.

The award, accompanied by a $1,000 prize, was presented Sept. 19 to Sacramento County Farm Bureau Executive Director Charlotte Mitchell at Clos Pegase Winery Estate in Calistoga. The honorable mention award was presented to Silverado Farming.

"We feel that it is important to recognize the unsung heroes going the extra mile to improve health and safety in the agricultural workplace," said Marc Schenker, a professor of public health sciences and the center director. "There is usually little recognition when injuries don't occur or when workers don't get ill, and, yet, prevention of injury and illness is the foundation of the center's work."

The center's Web site notes that during an average year, 516 workers die doing farm work in the United States, according to statistics from 1992-2005.

The farm bureau was honored for demonstrating "exceptional involvement in promoting practices not only on the farm, but within communities though health fairs reaching farm workers, their families, and children."

Annually, the Sacramento County Farm Bureau hosts a major safety seminar for farm workers, employers and supervisors, with classes offered in Spanish and English. In recent years, the organization also has expanded its activities to include a health fair for families, providing free medical testing and basic health training.

The new health and safety award was developed by the UC Davis center to recognize an individual, group, organization, association or business that consistently strives to reduce agricultural workplace injuries and improve overall health on the farm. The award was supported by the Western Growers Association.

"Western Growers is proud to have the opportunity to collaborate with the Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety to present the first ever Outstanding Achievement in Agricultural Health and Safety Award," said Hank Giclas, vice president of science and technology for Western Growers Association.

"We wholeheartedly support the center's mission and efforts to reduce agricultural injury and illness through focused research, education and intervention, and believe that this award, which recognizes exemplary efforts to improve health and safety on the farm, helps us all to foster a culture that reduces workplace injury and improves overall health."

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