CHS Inc., the nation's leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grain and food company, announced that it has committed $3 million to a national agricultural safety initiative intended to keep next generations safe.
"As U.S. agriculture ramps up to feed the 9 billion people projected to inhabit this planet by 2050, we have new technologies and safety risks to address plus a growing workforce to train," CHS president and chief executive officer Carl Casale said in announcing the initiative during his address to the 2013 North American Agricultural Safety Summit. "That's why CHS is investing in this multimillion-dollar initiative — focused on college students and adults — to help keep our next generation of agricultural leaders safe."
The investment includes $1 million for a competitive grants program supporting rural safety projects and $2 million to support safety programs with five partner organizations:
* The Agricultural Health & Safety Council, addressing emerging occupational safety and health issues affecting U.S. agriculture;
* The AgriSafe Network, helping train a national workforce of rural health care providers and developing a new college health program for agricultural students;
* The GEAPS Foundation, in support of the Grain Elevator & Processing Society (GEAPS)/Kansas State University distance learning, credentialing and other safe grain handling educational efforts;
* National AgrAbility, working in conjunction with Purdue University on agricultural education and enhancing quality of life for farmers, ranchers and other agricultural workers affected by disabling conditions, and
* The Propane & Education Research Council, advancing the safe use of propane on the farm through training and research.
The CHS Foundation's $500,000 contribution to the GEAPS Foundation's Professional Development Programs Endowment Fund represents the largest contribution to the fund to date, according to a separate announcement from GEAPS.
"CHS's generous contribution supports the development of courses for the GEAPS/Kansas State University Distance Education Program. It also demonstrates the vital role for industry businesses in helping to fund development of courses needed to train the next generation of grain industry operations professionals to safely and sustainably feed the world," said Mark Fedje, GEAPS Foundation board chair, and terminal elevator maintenance team leader at General Mills.
The GEAPS/K-State Distance Education Program provides online, peer-reviewed continuing education courses taught by grain industry leaders in operations safety and grain quality management, facility design, material handling and equipment maintenance.
CHS said details of the competitive grants program will be announced in early 2014.