The Ohio Farm Family Health and Hazard Surveillance Program: Demographic Characteristics of Families Living and Working on Cash Grain Farms

  • Bean, Thomas;
  • Crawford, John M.;
  • Mitchell, Gladys Lynn;
  • Wilkins III, J.R.;
  • Jones, Lawrence A.

In the on-going Ohio FFHHS, demographic and exposure information was obtained from 2,571 cash grain farms. From this information, descriptive data concerning the profile of cash grain farm families in Ohio was generated and compared with data for the United States. Demographic data collected on each person working on the farm included gender, year of birth, relationship to Principal Operator (PO), usual residence (on or off the farm), work frequency (regularly, occasionally, or never), and pay status (paid or unpaid). These data were not collected for seasonal, migrant, or occasional workers.

Farm families in this study averaged 3.5 people per farm, with the number of people per farm for each county ranging from 1.75 to 7. Nine percent of the families consisted of only one person, 29.1% consisted of two people, 20.3% consisted of three people, and 41.7% of the farms reported 4 or more people. The percentage of farm families with 4 or more members is higher than those reported for the farm population of the U.S. Of the farms with two or more people, 51.9% included a married couple with at least one child, 37.7% included a married couple but no children, 9.4% included a male head of household, and 1.0% indicated a female head of household.

Fifty-five percent of the families (2 or more people) included at least one child. Thirty-nine percent of these families had at least one child less than 18 years of age, 12% had at least one child under 6 years of age, and 7.1% had at least one child 3 years of age. These percentages are consistent with those reported for all farm families in the U.S.

From the overall sample, data were collected on 8,941 people that lived and/or worked on the farm. The average age for all people on the farm was 42 years with a range of <1 to 92 years. Over 60% were male. Twenty-nine percent of the sample were POs, 23.9% were the spouse of the PO, 27.7% were children of the PO, 12.9% were some other relative of the PO, and the remainder were hired workers unrelated to the PO. More than two-thirds of the sample lived on a farm and 48.3% worked regularly on the farm. Interestingly, only 29% of the sample report that they are paid to work on the farm.

Based upon demographic data reflecting the U.S. farm population, it would appear that survey respondents in the Ohio FFHHS are from larger farm families.

This research abstract was extracted from a portion of the proceedings of "Agricultural Safety and Health: Detection, Prevention and Intervention," a conference presented by the Ohio State University and the Ohio Department of Health, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

The authors noted above are from: All at The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.

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