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    There are historical assumptions about who does the work of agriculture, but a deeper dive shows the diverse and often overlooked people who help grow and raise food in the United States. AgriSafe is committed to shining a spotlight on the special populations in agriculture and the health risks associated with their work.


    In the past, farm equipment and other tools used in agriculture were designed for men and may make operating and using the equipment difficult or ergonomically unsafe for women. Most research into injury prevention or health risks has focused on men. The lack of personal protective equipment designed to fit women also puts them at risk. Women experience certain reproductive risks from agricultural exposures including infertility and pregnancy loss. Zoonotic disease exposures may also impact women differently, especially during pre-conception and pregnancy.

    Migrant and Immigrant Farmworkers

    More than 75% of farmworkers come to the United States from other countries for work. Many farmworkers are essential to fruit and vegetable production; work that is often repetitive like bending, lifting, and hand planting/harvesting. Farmworkers are more likely to do dangerous jobs like enter confined spaces, maintain manure storages, or work directly with livestock. Communication barriers and lack of safety training in their language of choice puts farmworkers at higher risk for injury and death.

    BIPOC Farmers

    Recognizing racism as a public health issue, AgriSafe is paying attention to the ways that race intersects with work in agriculture. Based on our 2020 Racism in Ag Think Tank, AgriSafe is exploring opportunities to support the health of black, indigenous, and people of color who work in agriculture.

    Aging Farmers

    There are physiologic changes that happen to everyone as we age. Beginning as early as our mid-20s, respiratory function starts to decline; other systemic changes set in as our bodies move through the natural progression of life. Aging farmers may have chronic conditions like heart disease or diabetes which require medications that can change how our bodies respond to heat or exertion. Understanding risk and modifying tasks to fit the worker can go a long way to help prevent injury.


    Youth working on farms are at high risk for injury. They are less experienced, more likely to take risks, and are doing work that can be dangerous. It’s important to assign tasks to youth that are developmentally and physically appropriate.

    AgriSafe’s Invest in Your Health program is designed for adults to use with youth working in ag to help them understand how to better protect themselves from farm hazards.

    Military Veterans

    AgriSafe has partnered with military veteran farmers to learn more about the issues veterans face when working in agriculture. Veteran farmers may have chronic conditions or disabilities from their military service that impact how they can do their farm work. Substance use disorders and post traumatic stress have also been identified as health risks for some veterans. More work in this area will help healthcare providers and community members better understand how to support veteran farmers.


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