“If you ate today, thank a farmer.”
Agriculture is among the most hazardous occupations. It is, perhaps, the only industry where eight-year-olds and eighty-year-olds work in the same profession, side by side, operating large pieces of equipment. The death rate is four times that of all other industries combined. Because this form of work is so physically demanding, it is little wonder that the injury and fatality rates are so high.
Surprisingly, the number of farm-accident fatalities is not declining in proportion to the decline in farm population, partly because of the increasing average age of people on farms. The annual mortality from farm accidents is estimated at 60 to 70 per 100,000 of farm population.
Farms are isolated, with little supervision of work and not much opportunity for an injured person to obtain first aid promptly. The high rate of accidents to farmers is also related to the pattern of farm work, which is more of a family job running more around the clock than the job of a wage earner in town. As would be expected, farm accidents are at their peak in June, July, and August–the most active period of crop production and harvest.