Both county fairs and agritourism operations continue to be popular attractions in Minnesota but they also pose a risk for human illness from food, water, and animals. Outbreaks associated with county fairs and agritourism operations are investigated annually. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) was awarded a competitive pilot grant through the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center to create workshops addressing county fair and agritourism issues. The workshop goals were three-fold: provide education about risks for illness and injury, offer best practices to those involved in venues where the public has contact with animals, and build relationships between fair groups/agritourism operators and governmental agencies that may regulate fairs/operations or investigate outbreaks.
Day-long Healthy Fairs Workshops and evening Agritourism Workshops were developed using a One Health model to address human, animal, and environmental health issues associated with animal contact venues. Workshops were co-hosted by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, MDH Zoonotic Diseases Unit, MDH Environmental Health Division, and the Minnesota Board of Animal Health. Workshops were free and a meal was provided. Electronic and U.S. mail invitations were employed with additional marketing through Facebook, agricultural websites and listservs, and local radio and newspaper press releases.
Healthy Fairs Workshops were held regionally throughout Minnesota and Agritourism Workshops were held within the seven-county metro area of Minneapolis and St. Paul. For both workshops, a subject matter expert presented on each of the three One Health topics: human health, animal health, and environmental health. Each presentation was followed by a question and answer period, and small group discussion.
Five Healthy Fairs Workshops were held throughout Minnesota from 2013 through 2016 with a total of 190 attendees. Educational binders were given to each attendee and 1,291 educational posters were distributed. Of the attendees who completed the evaluation, 138 (97%) of 142 agreed or strongly agreed that the workshop was valuable to them and 134 (93%) of 144 agreed or strongly agreed they would implement what they had learned at their fair.
Three Agritourism Workshops were held within the 7-county metro area from 2015 through 2016 and a total of 56 people attended the workshops. Educational binders were given to each attendee and 354 educational posters were distributed. Of the 48 attendees who completed the evaluation, 43 (90%) were already operating an agritourism venue. Forty-four attendees (92%) agreed or strongly agreed that the workshop was valuable to them and 44 attendees (92%) agreed or strongly agreed they would implement what they had learned at their fair.
Each of these workshops addresses a different audience and provided space for the development of ongoing partnerships between those running county fairs and agritourism venues and those who regulate and investigate such venues. Since Minnesota lacks a professional organization for agritourism operators and agritourism continues to increase in popularity, these workshops will be an important avenue for providing accurate and timely education to operators. It is essential to develop these relationships prior to an emergency, which was exhibited in 2014, when a multi-county fair outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 associated with a traveling petting zoo was investigated. The relationships developed by the workshops allowed for rapid investigation and interventions were put into place within one day of the investigation beginning.
|Conference||2018 Extension Risk Management Education National Conference|
|Presentation Type||30-Minute Concurrent|