The CSF program is a research initiative launched in 1998 at the University of Iowa, with a goal of reducing the number and cost of injuries and illnesses to farmers through a voluntary intervention program. Of the more than 600 participating farms, approximately 40% are hog operations.

CSF includes three management components:

  1. Health checks of workers by trained occupational nurses who assess cardiovascular, respiratory, vision, skin, hearing, cholesterol and musculoskeletal status with other tests as needed.

  2. Safety monitoring of work environments to eliminate injuries.

  3. Education to encourage the use of personal protective equipment such as face masks and ear plugs.

Donham is working to get health insurance companies to offer incentives to farms that sign up for the program. He says his research demonstrates CSF reduces health care costs of occupational injuries and illnesses by 45%, or $183 vs. $332 per employee per year (out-of-pocket and costs paid by insurance companies), compared to costs at non-participant farms.

“The program reduces the risk for respiratory illnesses, and we've been able to prove this,” he says.