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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Iowa: Study Reveals Midwest Farmers’ Top Concerns and Stressors

To better understand how to reduce injury and illnesses in Midwestern farmers, researchers at the University of Iowa College of Public Health have asked farmers to identify their own perspectives regarding hazards and stressors associated with their work. Responses from 540 farmers were analyzed to identify their concerns. The results were recently published in the Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health.

The study, led by Dr. Kanika Arora, University of Iowa assistant professor of health management and policy, identified that Midwestern farmers’ top safety concerns focused on farm chemical safety, equipment and tools, and specific health conditions experienced by farmers. Nearly half of farmers surveyed made specific requests for information on safe chemical handling, storage and use, and for information relating to the effect farming chemicals have on health.

Farmers also expressed concerns regarding the safety of equipment and tools, with specific concerns on entanglement hazards and maintaining old equipment in safe operating condition. Over one-third of those surveyed had questions regarding health outcomes associated with farming exposures, including respiratory health, hearing loss, depression, pain, and acute illnesses.

Tools to help farmers improve knowledge or develop protective practices that target these topics may be welcomed by farmers. The University of Iowa Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health has compiled information across many of these topics to begin helping farmers address their concerns and reduce stressors. For more information about how farmers get hurt and how to prevent these injuries, visit gpcah.org and select “resources” from the menu options.

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