Farming is a hazardous profession. While the total number of agricultural fatalities has been decreasing in recent years, 285 farmers and ranchers were killed on the job in 2007 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. NIFA addresses the issue of farm safety by supporting Cooperative Extension Service programs that train workers in appropriate field practices and equipment use and maintenance.
NIFA also supports the AgrAbility program, which reached 2,287 new disabled farmers and ranchers through education, assistance, and networking from 2004-2008 with on-farm assessments and assistive technology implementation on their worksites.
Overall, NIFA farm safety efforts strive to help workers avoid workplace hazards, assist those with disabilities remain employed, and ensure equal access to the agriculture profession for all workers, regardless of background or ability.
While research cannot directly link agricultural safety education to reductions in fatalities, survey studies have linked extension education to increase in knowledge of hazards and changes in practices that will reduce risk of exposure to the hazards. By ensuring agricultural worker safety, they are able to utilize their knowledge and skills current to remain economically competitive and safe in an often economically and physically challenging agricultural work environment.