The word “agriculture” usually brings to mind crops and animals, but it’s the people working in agriculture who feed the world.
“My love and passion is helping people,” said USU Associate Professor Michael Pate, president of the International Society for Agricultural Health and Safety (ISASH). “The people in agriculture are the backbone and the heart and soul of agriculture. If you don’t have people working in agriculture, you don’t have agriculture.”
Pate of Utah State University’s Applied Sciences, Technology and Education Department has been named president of ISASH for the 2021-2022 term.
Helping his grandparents on their farm in Arkansas sparked a passion for agriculture in Pate, and he decided to pursue a career in agricultural education. He completed his undergraduate and graduate degrees in agricultural education at the University of Arkansas before earning his doctorate at Iowa State University in 2009. After coming to Utah State University in 2010 and earning tenure, Pate took a position a Pennsylvania State University as an associate professor for two years. Upon his return to USU in 2018, he began serving as the program lead of the agricultural systems technology degree program.
“Originally my thought was that I was going to help teachers with teaching their students,” Pate said. “My whole goal from high school into graduate school was to be a teacher educator. That kind of shifted and over time I became pretty good with ag technology. I got into agricultural safety during work on my Ph.D., understanding how we can prepare teachers to safely provide instruction and then ensure that their students are performing in a safe atmosphere.”
Pate started his work with ISASH in 2009 as a committee member looking at potential hazards and problems with new farm equipment. It gave him the opportunity for a nomination to the board of directors, where he served for two terms. After being named director of the board, he was elected president of the organization.
“I feel very underqualified and excited at the same time,” Pate said of his recent appointment. “This is an incredible honor and opportunity that the organization has allowed me to serve them in that capacity.”
Pate hopes to serve and improve the organization and help people working in agriculture to do their jobs safely and well. ISASH offers training for agricultural workers and opportunities for people in the industry to share information and skills.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks farming among the country’s most dangerous jobs. Farmers regularly work with large vehicles and potentially dangerous equipment, animals, chemicals and other hazards that can cause life-changing injuries and fatalities and unsafe practices can become dangerous habits.
“When people think about farm safety, they think that we’re trying to reduce their ability to do their job and to do it well,” Pate said. “It’s not about telling people how to farm. We’re here to help. We understand that there are hazardous parts of the job, we just want people to be aware of them. We want to address those aspects, and we want to keep people farming.”
College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences
Applied Sciences, Technology and Education Department
TOPICSFaculty 225stories Agriculture 167stories Food 128stories World 110stories Farming 77stories
Comments and questions regarding this article may be directed to the contact person listed on this page.