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Minority Farm Operator Occupational Injury Surveillance of Production Agriculture (M-OISPA) Survey

Farmers are at very high risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries. Additionally, farming is one of the few industries in which family members (who often share the work and live on the premises) are also at risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries.

In 1990, Congress requested NIOSH to develop an extensive agricultural safety and health program to address the high risks of injuries and illnesses experienced by workers and families in agriculture. One component of this program was the development of an ongoing surveillance program to track the magnitude of nonfatal injuries occurring to adults working in agriculture.

An initial step in the development of the surveillance program was the completion of the Occupational Injury Surveillance of Production Agriculture (OISPA) survey. This survey, first conducted for the calendar year 2001, was designed to produce national and regional estimates of the number of adults 20 years of age and older working on farms and the number of occupational injuries that these workers incur.

Since minority operations (Hispanic and racial minority) account for a small proportion of all farms in the US (less than 6% of farms in 2008), the OISPA survey was not sufficient to provide injury estimates for minority farming operations. To obtain statistically reliable estimates for these two groups, NIOSH collaborated with the US Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA-NASS) to conduct a separate survey of minority farm operators (M-OISPA) utilizing the NASS Census of Agriculture list. The initial M-OISPA collected data for the calendar year 2003. Since then, an additional M-OISPA survey was conducted in 2008.

The M-OISPA data tables providing results from the two surveys are divided into two broad categories, demographics and injury. The data are further broken out by racial minority and Hispanic operated farms. Because it is possible for an operator to report being of Hispanic origin and a racial minority on the Census of Agriculture, the Hispanic and racial minority estimates are not mutually exclusive and cannot be combined to produce an overall estimate for minority farm operations.

Interpretations of these data are provided in NIOSH documents and publications. Demographic and injury estimates in the tables were calculated by NIOSH and are presented with the approval of USDA-NASS. Public access to all M-OISPA data files, or additional estimates from the M-OISPA, are subject to the approval of USDA-NASS. For additional information contact Kitty Hendricks.