Analysis of Composting Techniques and Fly Control Programs to Reduce Disease Risk and Improve Farm Worker Safety

In a recent intensive study of farms in East Tennessee, Salmonella enterica was present in 32% of unprocessed litter samples and 8% of flies collected. Salmonella was also detected in produce, feces, soil and water samples demonstrating the spread of this pathogen within the farm environment. We concluded that the wide-spread occurrence of Salmonella was due to: 1) direct application of contaminated poultry litter on the produce fields and 2) a lack of any insect control program. Previous work has demonstrated that Salmonella is a significant occupational hazard for farm workers. To reduce this risk, the proposed project will evaluate composting techniques that effectively eliminate Salmonella from litter and insect control programs to reduce these disease-carrying vectors. These mitigation strategies can be applied throughout the entire Central Appalachian area, improving the safety of work environments for farm workers.