Two significant threats to the farm population's well-being -- skin cancer and tractor rollovers -- were addressed by the NFMC during its largest outreach event of the year, August 12-14, at Wisconsin Farm Technology Days. More than 600 visitors received skin cancer screening and 75 individuals enrolled in the Wisconsin Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS) Rebate Program.
Twenty-four physicians, allied providers and staff from the Marshfield Clinic Dermatology Department, along with 10 Farm Center scientists and staff, volunteered for the three-day event held near Stevens Point.
NFMC Education Outreach Specialist Tammy Ellis began working with counterparts in Clinic Dermatology and Corporate Communications in March to ensure a smooth-running effort. "We tried to make it as easy as possible to take advantage of these services," Ellis said. "We had some people tell us that the last time they got screened for skin cancer was when we screened at Farm Tech Days in Clark County (2005) and Marathon County (2011). That shows how important this initiative is to central Wisconsin residents."
Said Dr. Erik Stratman, Chair of the Clinic Dermatology Department: "I don't think the farming community always seeks timely health care. This screening can provide the push they might need. I think we saved at least five lives today."
“Farmers are busy people,” said Dr. Alexandra Carley, “and screening where they are makes sense.” “Screenings also are valuable in that they give potential Marshfield Clinic patients a point-of-access to care,” said Dr. Thomas McIntee.
Dr. Matthew Keifer, NFMC director, sees Farm Technology Days as a great opportunity for the Farm Center and Marshfield Clinic to cure disease. “Of all the cancers farmers are at risk for, skin cancer is the No. 1 cancer that can be diagnosed quickly and cured,” Dr. Keifer said.
Dr. Barbara Marlenga and Ellis lead the Wisconsin Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS) Rebate Program, which has installed more than 70 ROPS in its first 18 months. Dr. Marlenga said promotion of the ROPS program is having an impact. Many farmers who enrolled during Farm Technology Days said they read about the program in special Farm Tech Days supplements published the week before in state ag magazines. “They came here to sign up – they already knew about the program,” Dr. Marlenga said.