Overall Farmer Health
The agricultural profession is one of the most dangerous, both physically and mentally. Oftentimes, farmers are placed under extreme amounts of stress and hard labor. It is important for farmers, and those surrounding farmers, to take a step back and assess mental and physical health.
Health Risk Concerns for Farmers
- Exposure to hazardous chemicals. While working with chemicals, it is important to wear the proper PPE and follow all guidelines on the bottle or container. In the event of exposure, contact health professionals if required and bring the container or bottle with you if you are seeking medical attention.
- Exposure to loud noises. While working around equipment or machines that produce loud noises, it is important to wear hearing protection. Any noises above 85 decibels can result in hearing loss.
- Risk of heatstroke, hypothermia, or frostbite. The weather can play a large role in risks for farmers. While working in hot or cold conditions, always wear adequate clothing. In hot weather, drink plenty of water and seek shade often.
- Risk of injury from livestock. The livestock industry is very prominent in the United States. While working with livestock, always be aware of entry and exit points. Never approach an animal in its blind spot, and always ensure they know you are in their vicinity.
Mental Health Concerns for Farmers
Farmers do not only experience physical health risks but also mental health risks. The top three causes of mental health risks are the weather, concern over the future of the farm, and outsiders not understanding the nature of farming. Often these stressors are outside of the control of the farmer, however, they still present concern. These stressors can result in anxiety, depression, feelings of loneliness, or isolation. Because of these stressors, the farming population has a higher suicide rate than the general public.