The International Society for Agricultural Safety and Health (ISASH) will be "Bridging the Past and Future 50 Years" at its annual conference June 24-28 in Burlington, Vt.

Able to trace its roots to a small but viable farm safety awakening in the United States during the late 1930s, ISASH incorporated in 1962 as National Institute for Farm Safety. Members voted last year to change the name to International Society for Agricultural Safety and Health to better reflect the needs of agriculture and the work of its membership.

"The ISASH name acknowledges the growing number of members involved in health and agromedicine as well as safety," said ISASH President Marsha Purcell, American Farm Bureau Federation. "There also was a desire to recognize growth in international membership."

This year's conference will feature a welcome from Chuck Ross, Vermont Secretary of Agriculture, nearly 50 concurrent sessions, a professional improvement session examining "Social Marketing in Agricultural Fatality and Injury Prevention," and tours highlighting the diversity of Vermont agriculture and its particular safety and health issues.

Robert E. (Chip) Petrea serves as the secretary for ISASH. Petrea is a research specialist in agriculture in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the University of Illinois and has been an active member of the organization for many years.

"ISASH members include engineers, educators, insurers, physicians, nurses, veterinarians, statisticians, communicators, business leaders and others who contribute to a safer and healthier agricultural workplace," said Petrea.

The ISASH conference has a history of serving as a clearinghouse for research and intervention ideas. Many safety initiatives in U.S. agriculture have involved members of ISASH or its predecessors, including the slow-moving vehicle emblem, emergency farm rescue, rollover protective structures, assistive technologies for disabled farmers, and hand signals.

"It's gratifying to see the major increase in interest, action and results of ISASH since it started 50 years ago," said Jim Williams, of Bloomington, Ill., a charter member and current co-chair of the public relations committee. 

Another longtime member from central Illinois, Gary Erisman, Ph.D., joined two years after incorporation. Erisman serves on the professional improvement committee. He said ISASH has a unique selling point: "It is the premier international organization solely devoted to agricultural safety and health education and research."

"It's exciting to have that kind of support from people who started this organization," Purcell said, "and at the same time seeing college students and other newcomers following in their footsteps."

For more information, go to or contact Scott Heiberger,; 715-389-7541.