Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Environmental, Agricultural & Occupational Health

First Committee Member

Chandran Achutan

Second Committee Member

Lorena Baccaglini

Third Committee Member

Gleb Haynatzki

Fourth Committee Member

Risto Rautiainen


Background The high risk of occupational fatalities in agriculture is well documented, but information on non-fatal injuries is lacking due to challenges in injury surveillance. This surveillance study explored the frequency, characteristics, and risk factors for non-fatal injuries among farmers and ranchers in the central United States.

Methods The Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (CS-CASH), in collaboration with the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), conducted annual surveys (n=34,777 sent) during 2011-2015 covering a seven-state region (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, and South Dakota).

Results The average response rate was 32% in the five consecutive annual surveys. The average injury incidence rate was 7.0 injuries/100 operators per year. Most injuries (89%) occurred during agricultural work. The most frequent sources of injury were livestock (22%), machinery (13%), and hand tools (12%). Risk factors for injury included: male gender, younger age (vs. 65+ years), farming as the primary occupation, greater work time, greater land area, ranch (vs. farm), organic farming, internet access, and production of several types of crops and animals. Most injuries (56%) required a doctor visit, and 12% required hospitalization. The average medical costs were $1,936 out of pocket and $8,043 paid by insurance. The combined average costs for most serious injuries were $7,858. Most injuries (66%) resulted in some lost time from agricultural work, 13% were serious, resulting in more than 30 days of lost work time.

Conclusions The non-fatal injury rate for self-employed farmers and ranchers was higher than that of hired agricultural workers reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This result reaffirms farming/ranching as a dangerous occupation and emphasizes the need for efforts to prevent agricultural injuries, especially those associated with identified injury sources and risk factors.

Available for download on Saturday, December 10, 2022

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