Agriculture plays a major part in most economies of the world, none more so than the United States. The federal government plays a huge part in the development and practices within the industry, by way of research, training, advice and sharing of experience.
The federal government also oversees many areas of farming and safety by way of legislation and has a role that is both helpful and punitive. Knowing which agencies are involved and what they do is a crucial matter for any farmer or agricultural operative and can be a huge source of information and help.
Anyone running a farm of any size should approach it as running a serious business, and understand the various frameworks involved, both structural and legal, that they need to be aware of and implement in how they run the business.
Below are some of the main public and government agencies that operate in the United States.
Some may extend into other countries such as Canada if there are cross-border agreements relate to their country as well. Other countries that rely heavily on agriculture also have their own agencies that are likely to be similar in nature in terms of the services or legal framework that they operate under.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is the main body in the United States that deals with regulations relating to health and safety.
Health and safety on a farm or in an agricultural context is normally more complicated to detail and implement than normal businesses, given the nature of both the environment, and the people who work on it.
Farm and agricultural land relies much more heavily on the seasons and the weather than most other businesses and this creates real health and safety issues.
It is also true to say that most farms are either family run, or have families living on site, meaning that the business is a mix of home and work.
These are boundaries that have to be worked out within the family themselves at a personal level, but also need to be worked out in a commercial sense both for the families and any employees who either live or work on the land as well.
The United States Department of Labor has a specific focus in the agricultural industry that relates to children and young people.
Historically children have done a lot of work on farms, either as holiday jobs or as part of the lifestyle if they live their. Whilst generally this is a safe and accepted practice, there are specific laws that relate to child labour which need to be understood and related specifically to agriculture.
The United States Department of Agriculture is the main body in the US which oversees this massive an important industry. It is continually engaged with the agricultural community in different ways, in order both to understand their needs on an ongoing basis, and also to provide help and support of possible.
The needs of the agricultural industry can change, depending upon specific weather conditions, or market forces. There may need to be temporary measures put in place, either financial or regulatory to help the farming industry in specific and dedicated ways.
This department primarily helps the farming industry through education, research, regulation of food production and safety, conservation and worldwide market development.
AgrAbility is a number of specific programs sponsored by the United States Department of agriculture and the National Easter Seals which provide help and support to farmers with disabilities.
This is seen as a hugely important function that they provide many concerning education, technical and financial information, and is widely available throughout the United States although not everywhere.
This enables farmers, whose business is quite isolated anyway, with any type of disability to access resources and help which enable them to do the work on a similar basis with their competitors.
The other really important government agency is the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. This is a branch of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, which has a very specific responsibility.
It is charged with conducting research and making recommendations to help prevent injuries in the workplace.
It should be thought of as a significant body of experience that uses their understanding of how injuries happen to help prevent them.
This is not simply a legislative process, it can bring understanding to any type of formal agricultural business as to how to understand best practice in the industry, and implement policies and protocols that help prevent any type of injury or serious damage to employee, in what is a very challenging and fast moving work environment.