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Successful Farming editor honored for farm safety focus

Agriculture.com Staff 09/25/2009 @ 2:11pm

The Stueland Scholar was established in 2001 to honor the memory of emergency medicine specialist Dean Stueland, M.D., M.P.H., former medical director of the National Farm Medicine Center and vice president of Marshfield Clinic. The award goes to an individual who has made significant contributions in the areas of emergency, agricultural and/or alcohol and drug abuse medicine.

Dr. Stueland's widow, Marlene Stueland, and daughter, Nancy Stueland-Adamski, presented the award on behalf of their family and the National Farm Medicine Center. Tevis is the first non-physician/scientist to be named Stueland Scholar.

Tevis has made safety a core theme in more than 30 years of writing for Successful Farming and its readership of 1.2 million.

Her 1989 special report, "We kill too many farm kids," challenged traditional thinking about children in the farm worksite, and helped lay groundwork for research on injury and appropriate farm tasks for children.

Since that time, she says farm readers have become increasingly safety-conscious, and will contact her if the magazine inadvertently runs a photograph depicting a potentially unsafe practice, such as a farmer not wearing proper protective gear.

"When we first started writing about this topic we did not hear from readers in that way," Tevis says. She also has supervised a Successful Farming grant program with Farm Safety 4 Just Kids since 1994 to encourage farm families to complete specific safety projects.

In 1996, Tevis met with a taskforce organized by Marshfield's National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Safety and Health, to produce the North American Guidelines for Children’s Agricultural Tasks. Successful Farming produced a special 16-page guidelines resource in the May/June 1999 issue. Visit NAGCAT.org for more on the guidelines.

Tevis also authors a regular feature titled "Rural Health," the longest-running family health series in any farm publication.

"Farmers have occupational exposures to many hazards and conditions," she says. "Unfortunately, there is a lack of health professionals who are trained in agricultural occupational medicine."

"Farm safety and health is not a solo act," Tevis says. She urges farm families, healthcare providers, media and researchers to continue working together to overcome tradition, economics and other challenges to safer agricultural practices.

The award was presented just prior to National Farm Safety and Health Week, September 20-26.

Humberto Vidaillet, MD, director of Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, was a colleague of Dr. Stueland. In the program’s closing remarks, Dr. Vidaillet congratulated Tevis, saying "the work we do and the communities we serve have benefitted greatly from your work."

Tevis' remarks, entitled "Farm Safety and Health: A Grassroots Perspective," and the entire Stueland Scholar program can be viewed here.

Awareness of farm safety and health is greater today, but more work remains to be done to reduce injuries and fatalities, says 2009 Stueland Scholar recipient Cheryl Tevis. Tevis, senior farm issues editor of Successful Farming magazine, was honored by the National Farm Medicine Center during an awards recognition event held at the Laird Center for Medical Research in Marshfield, Wisconsin last week.

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