Platte Farm joins OCO’s cancer prevention program in action to promote sun safety – Oswego County Today

Above back from left are OCO Community Health Coordinator Leanna Cleveland and Rudy and Charlene Walthert. In the foreground, Elliott and Cordella Walthert.

OSWEGO COUNTY – It’s a beautiful day and Rudy Walthert, owner of Platte Farm in Mexico City, New York, is ready to go out to work for several hours in glorious sunshine. While applying sunscreen for recreational activities may be routine, applying sunscreen on the way to work may not be a priority, but it should be.

People whose jobs require them to work outdoors are exposed to hours of sunlight every day. Overexposure to the sun’s dangerous ultraviolet rays can not only cause sunburn, but also long-lasting skin damage that can lead to skin cancer.

According to the NYS Department of Health, approximately 4,000 New Yorkers are diagnosed with melanoma each year, with nearly 500 cases resulting in death. In Oswego County, an average of 28 people are diagnosed with melanoma each year.

“Rudy and his wife Charlene work outdoors every day,” said Leanna Cleveland, Oswego County Opportunities Coordinator (OCO) for Community Health. “Working on a farm, there is no way to avoid the sun. When I told them about the damage the sun’s ultraviolet rays can do to your skin and the possibility of developing skin cancer, they were eager to adopt a sun safety policy.

Cleveland worked with the Waltherts to create a Platte Farm Sun Safety Policy that promotes sun safety behaviors for everyone who works on their farm.

“We are committed to ensuring the health and safety of our family and everyone who helps us on our farm,” Walthert said. “Our sun protection policy emphasizes the promotion of sun protective behaviors. By encouraging sun protective behaviors and providing items that will help, we are creating a healthy and safe workplace for everyone on our farm.

The Platte Farm Sun Safety Policy encourages people on the farm to:

– Wear wide-brimmed hats that create a shade that completely covers the head, face, nose, ears and neck.
– Wear lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
– Apply full-spectrum sunscreen (UVA and UVB) to exposed skin.
– Wear sunglasses that provide 100% protection against UVA and UVB rays from the sun
– Pack and use a lip balm with a minimum of SPF 15

Additionally, the Waltherts will provide those working at Platte Farm with personal sun protection gear that includes long-sleeved shirts and wide-brimmed hats, courtesy of OCO’s Cancer Prevention in Action program, outdoor break areas shaded areas and annual sun safety training.

“I’m glad we were able to help Rudy and Charlene implement a sun protection policy at Platte Farm,” Cleveland said. “Sun safety is paramount in the prevention of skin cancer and melanoma. I encourage any company that employs outdoor workers to consider joining Platte Farm in implementing their own sun protection policy.

OCO’s Cancer Prevention in Action program aims to increase cancer prevention and educate the community about the importance of sun protection. The program focuses on policies that serve as catalysts for environmental change and educate community members about what they can do to prevent cancer.

For more information on the importance of sun safety or to establish a sun safety policy, contact Leanna Cleveland at 315-592-0827.

Oswego County Opportunities is a contractor to the St. Lawrence Health Initiative to deliver the Cancer Prevention in Action Grant locally in Oswego County. To learn more about the Cancer Prevention in Action program, which is supported with funds from New York State, please visit

Did you know? A private, not-for-profit organization, OCO’s many programs each touch the lives of approximately 16,000 Oswego County residents. One of Oswego County’s largest employers, OCO employs more than people and has 1,200 volunteers. OCO strives to improve the quality of life in Oswego County by helping people, supporting communities and changing lives. For more information, visit the OCO website at Now you know…it’s OCO!

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