Colorado State’s High Plains Center Receives $2.5 Million for Agricultural Operations Research and Education

Colorado State University’s High Plains Intermountain Center for Agricultural Health and Safety, or HI-CAHS, was awarded a three-year, $2.5 million grant to support its research, intervention, education and outreach efforts that focus on agricultural operations. The grant will help fund programs that address issues concerning agricultural-related hazards including death, injuries, illnesses and occupational diseases.  

As part of the Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences at Colorado State, HI-CAHS was awarded the grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a service arm of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"This grant will fund a number of new initiatives and enable us to take a comprehensive approach to solve and prevent injuries, illness and fatalities in the agricultural industry," said Steve Reynolds, principal investigator of the grant and professor in the environmental and radiological health sciences department. "We are pleased to be able to continue and expand upon the important HI-CAHS work with this new funding."

HI-CAHS is developing nine new programs that will be partially funded by the grant. These programs are structured within four core areas of administration, prevention/intervention, education/outreach, and research.

The programs include:

–     ROPS (rollover protective structures) design and testing for agricultural vehicles;

–     agricultural health and safety curriculum evaluation;

–     interactive agricultural health and safety CD for 4-H youth;

–     regional education through state extension agents;

–     development of novel biomarkers for pesticides;

–     endotoxin and genetics in organic dust lung disease; and

–     improved methods of obtaining injury information from migrant farm workers.

"This grant once again demonstrates the federal government’s confidence in the ability of Colorado State and the Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences to conduct research that will benefit society," said John Zimbrick, head of the department. "These funds will allow the department opportunities to improve education at the university while also addressing important regional issues."

Established in 1991, HI-CAHS is a multi-disciplinary organization with input from a variety of areas including engineering, industrial hygiene, education, toxicology, social work, epidemiology, environmental health and agricultural sciences.

Academic and community partners, such as Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, from throughout the region play an important role in the center. The HI-CAHS center, one of 10 national centers dedicated to agricultural health and safety, is committed to the improvement of the health, safety and well-being of the residents of Colorado, the High Plains and the Rocky Mountain Region.

For more information about HI-CAHS, visit the Web at