The NC Agromedicine Institute is a University of North Carolina Institute.

Member Universities:
East Carolina University
North Carolina State University
NC Agricultural & Technical State University
Mountain Pesticide Education and Safety Outreach (PESO)
Project Name: Mountain Pesticide Education and Safety Outreach (PESO)

Principal Investigator: James V. Hamilton

Project Type: Core Feasibility Education/Outreach

Project Description:
The primary purpose of this grant is to develop and test a pilot pesticide and farm safety education and outreach program to train Hispanic field workers and their employers in western North Carolina’s Christmas tree industry. Christmas tree production is a $100 million-dollar per year industry in North Carolina. Western North Carolina has around 1,600 Christmas tree growers who produce approximately 20 percent of Christmas trees in the United States. Hispanic workers, primarily from Mexico, make up the majority of the labor force in this industry. A 2003 study of Christmas tree growers in the six major Christmas tree counties in western North Carolina estimates that over 80% of the industry’s workforce is Hispanic. Aside from sporadic short-term local outreach endeavors, there is no consistent and concerted effort to address pesticide education and safety needs of Christmas tree workers.

The Mountain Pesticide Education and Safety Outreach (PESO) initiative is proposed under the premise that while regulation can reduce pesticide risk, informed actions of the farmworker and grower are imperative for sustainable pesticide safety. Appropriate farmworker and grower education will facilitate informed decisions regarding proper pesticide handling and general farm safety. This type of education is necessary to protect human health and safety as well as to preserve the environment. Currently, there are no such programs focusing on comprehensive farm safety training and education opportunities for non-English speaking farmworkers in western North Carolina.

Project Accomplishments:

Annual Report 2004

Brochure: Los Pesticidas y la Salud Humana: Árboles de Navidad

Brochure: Pesticides and Human Health: Christmas Trees

Presentation: Mountain PESO Program: Pesticide Education and Safety Outreach + IPM Training