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Background/Purpose: To determine the prevalence of health conditions and impairments among agricultural producers residing in New Mexico. The U.S. Department of Labor reports the average age of a farmer is 56 and projected to increase. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports farming, ranching and other agricultural producers are in the top 10 of the most fatal professions in the United States. The population is at risk for a number of occupational and aging related injuries and disabilities. Currently, the prevalence of health conditions and impairments among farmers and ranchers in New Mexico is unknown. The goal of this study was to gain a sample ratio of the prevalence and types of health conditions affecting farmers and ranchers in New Mexico. Methods: The study is a quantitative survey that includes questions in which the participant can indicate agreement and select one or more descriptive answers. A pilot survey was administered to thirty-three food growers primarily from the Central Rio Grande area. The survey consisted of 20 questions designed to examine the demographics, limitations to work participation, disabilities, and health conditions affecting farmers and ranchers. The survey consisted of a multiple choice as well as open-ended responses. The researchers determined the characteristics of the populations that reported certain trends and themes. Results: The total number of surveys completed was 33. Over 60% of the respondents reported experiencing on the farm stress, worry, or emotional concern related to living or working in farming, ranching, or food growing. Eleven out of the 23 respondents were between the ages of 26-35. Conditions most commonly reported affecting food growers participation are pain and stress, musculoskeletal, and age. Other conditions reported included difficulty lifting, respiratory, neurological conditions, fatigue, and heat. Conclusions: Farmers and ranchers in New Mexico experience a multitude of health conditions and impairments that limit their participation on the farm. Future use of the survey can help shed some light on what types of supports farmers need to enable them to continue to participate in their occupation. Still the prevalence of health conditions is unknown. The long range goal of this study is to recruit and survey 300 different farmers in New Mexico about farmer health conditions limiting work participation. During this preliminary phase, a smaller sample was recruited to pilot the interview/survey.'


Poster presented at the University of New Mexico Occupational Therapy Research Day, April 20th, 2106, Albuquerque, NM.