Culturally relevant model program to prevent and reduce agricultural injuries

Deborah L. Helitzer, Gary Hathorn, Jeannie Benally, Catherine Ortega

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Limited research has explored pesticide injury prevention among American Indian farmers. In a five-year agricultural intervention, a university-community partnership, including the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, New Mexico State University, Shiprock Area Cooperative Extension Service, and Navajo Nation communities, used a culturally relevant model to introduce and maintain safe use of integrated pest management techniques. We applied the Diffusion of Innovations theory and communitybased approaches to tailor health promotion strategies for our intervention. In a longitudinal study with repeated measures, we trained six "model farmers" to be crop management experts in pesticide safety, application, and control. Subsequently, these model farmers worked with 120 farm families randomized into two groups: intervention (Group 1) and delayed intervention (Group 2). Measurements included a walk-through analysis, test of knowledge and attitudes, and yield analysis. Both groups demonstrated improvements in pesticide storage behaviors after training. Test scores regarding safety practices improved significantly: from 57.3 to 72.4 for Group 1 and from 52.6 to 76.3 for Group 2. Group 1 maintained their knowledge and safety practices after the intervention. Attitudes about pesticides and communication of viewpoints changed across the study years. With pesticides and fertilizer, the number of corn ears increased by 56.3% and yield (kg m-2) of alfalfa increased by 41.2%. The study combined traditional farming practices with culturally relevant approaches and behavior change theory to affect knowledge, safety practices, attitudes, communication channels, and crop yield. Storage behaviors, use of pesticides and safety and application equipment, and safety practice knowledge changed significantly, as did attitudes about social networking, social support, and the compatibility and relative advantage of pesticides for farms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages175-198
Number of pages24
Volume20
No3
Specialist publicationJournal of Agricultural Safety and Health
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • American Indian farms
  • Community-based participatory research (CBPR)
  • Diffusion of innovations
  • Injury prevention
  • Pesticides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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