Policy Fellow Brandi Janssen

Brandi Janssen

Brandi Janssen is a clinical assistant professor in the Occupational and Environmental Health Department at the College of Public Health. She is also director of Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-CASH) where she oversees a statewide coalition of public and private organizations devoted to reducing injuries and fatalities on farms. Her research examines local food production in Iowa to better understand how to develop food systems that are environmentally sustainable, accessible to consumers, and profitable for farmers.

As a policy fellow at the Iowa Institute of Public Health Research and Policy, Janssen is focusing on engagement with agricultural lenders to improve farm safety in Iowa. Injuries among farmers and agricultural workers remain higher than nearly every other industry in the United States. Most years in Iowa, agriculture is responsible for more occupational fatalities than any other industry.

These high injury and fatality rates are partially a result of the nature of the agricultural work where farmers and their employees are regularly exposed to multiple hazards on the job (equipment, livestock, chemicals, and environment such as extreme heat and cold). In addition, because most Iowa farms employ less than 10 non-related workers, there are very few enforceable policies that require safety protocols or enact penalties for unsafe working conditions.

Farm families, communities, and stakeholders can be partners in developing a farm safety culture that reduces injury and advocates safety promotion and policy. Many industries – including manufacturers, grain co-ops, and financial lenders – rely on a safe and healthy farm workforce.

In particular, agricultural lenders have a stake in safe farms and protected investments. This project aims to identify strategies for lenders to encourage and improve safe farm practices in Iowa.