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Rural Health Information Hub

Rural Project Examples: Farmers and farmworkers

Effective Examples

HEAR on the Farm
Updated/reviewed November 2022
  • Need: To increase use of hearing protection among farmers and farmworkers.
  • Intervention: Researchers mailed an assortment of hearing protection devices to farmers and provided web-based information (interactive or static) about hearing conservation to see which method or combination of methods was most effective.
  • Results: All participants increased their use of hearing protection. The largest increase occurred among those who received a sampler of hearing protection devices in the mail.
Farm Dinner Theater
Updated/reviewed August 2022
  • Need: To encourage farmers to make health and safety changes on their farms.
  • Intervention: Farm Dinner Theater is an event in which farmers and their families watch three 10-minute plays covering health and safety topics and then discuss solutions to the issues addressed in each.
  • Results: In a study, farmers who attended the plays were more likely to make changes and tell others what they learned, compared to farmers who received an educational packet with the same information.
Salud es Vida Cervical Cancer Education
Updated/reviewed January 2022
  • Need: Hispanic women have the highest incidence rates of cervical cancer among any ethnicity in the United States.
  • Intervention: The development of a lay health worker (promotora) curriculum that provided information on cervical cancer, HPV, and the HPV vaccine to Hispanic farmworker women living in rural southern Georgia and South Carolina.
  • Results: Significant increases in post-test scores relating to cervical cancer knowledge and increases in positive self-efficacy among promotoras.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy One Community Health's Wellness Programs
Updated/reviewed October 2017
  • Need: Difficulties obtaining healthcare access to treat diabetes and obesity for low-income and Spanish-speaking residents of Oregon and Washington's Columbia River Gorge area.
  • Intervention: A local healthcare facility developed wellness programs using bilingual community health workers to provide education and support that improves diets, physical activity, and teaches stress management.
  • Results: Many participants in the wellness programs have maintained or lost weight and have seen reductions in their cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. Vegetable vouchers, cooking classes, and budgeting education has also helped patients afford healthy food.

Promising Examples

Tomah Hearing Loss Prevention Outreach
Updated/reviewed November 2022
  • Need: Farmers are highly susceptible to permanent hearing loss due to prolonged exposure to loud machinery and livestock.
  • Intervention: Faculty and students from the audiology department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison supplied earplugs, free hearing testing, and hearing loss prevention education to attendees and participants at a local tractor pull.
  • Results: More than 16,000 pairs of earplugs have been distributed, and attendees have been receptive to the hearing loss prevention education provided by the audiology team.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Bridges to Health
Updated/reviewed October 2020
  • Need: To reduce barriers to accessing healthcare for immigrant farmworkers in the rural areas of Vermont.
  • Intervention: Bridges to Health uses care coordination and health promoters to reduce barriers to accessing healthcare on an individual level. The program offers targeted technical assistance to address systemic barriers at health access points in areas with high numbers of immigrant farmworkers.
  • Results: Some barriers to accessing healthcare have been reduced or removed for immigrant farmworkers in certain counties.

Other Project Examples

The Coffee Break Project
Added July 2022
  • Need: Men in the agriculture industry face high suicide rates due to factors including long hours, geographic isolation, lack of social opportunities, and stigma surrounding mental health care.
  • Intervention: The Coffee Break Project, a program led by the Southeast Health Group in southeastern Colorado, encourages mental health check-ins for farmers and ranchers through a public awareness campaign and casual coffee gatherings that utilize COMET, an intervention model developed specifically for rural communities.
  • Results: Between eight and 20 people typically attend each coffee gathering.
Minnesota Farm & Rural Helpline
Updated/reviewed July 2021
  • Need: To connect farmers in stress with needed resources.
  • Intervention: The Minnesota Farm & Rural Helpline and website connect callers with counselors, help with daily living (like childcare or food assistance), and financial/legal advice.
  • Results: In 2020, the helpline received 104 calls, and the website had more than 7,000 visits.
Farm Assessment and Rehabilitation Methods (FARM) Program
Updated/reviewed January 2021
  • Need: To help farmers with disabilities continue farming while protecting their well-being.
  • Intervention: The FARM program helps disabled or ill farmers continue to operate and work their Wisconsin farms.
  • Results: Since 2009, the FARM Program has helped over 3,000 farmers continue to farm, resume farming, or find an alternative agricultural occupation.
Safe Farming, Safe Living
Updated/reviewed December 2020
  • Need: In 2014, the Avera St. Benedict Health Center's emergency department experienced a drastic increase in the amount of Hutterite patients with farm-related injuries.
  • Intervention: The South Dakota Critical Access Hospital created a program to educate Hutterite communities on farm hazards and safe work practices.
  • Results: Since the program began in 2015, the Avera St. Benedict emergency department has had no life-threatening agricultural injury admissions from the Hutterite communities. Attendees have said their confidence in their ability to identify hazards has increased, and more of them are using safety equipment on a regular basis.