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 Farm Stress and Mental Health


Long hours, isolating work, unexpected weather, and fluctuating prices make agricultural work a stressful job. Don't tough it out alone. If you're feeling stressed, there are resources and people waiting to help:

Colorado Crisis Services: 1-844-493-8255
Avera Farm Stress Hotline (Dakotas): 1-800-691-4336
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Support your community, and watch out for your neighbors. Check out these resources to help you know what to look for and how to help:

Signs and Symptoms of Stress - Signs and Symptoms of Stress (Upper Midwest Ag Safety and Health Center)

6 Signs of Farmer Stress (Iowa State Extension)


 Wildfire Smoke Information for Outdoor Workers


In recent years, the wildfire season across the west has grown in intensity and length. Wildfire smoke is harmful to human health and is especially burdensome to those with respiratory conditions like asthma. Unlike most occupations, workers in farming, forestry, and fishing have limited capacity to alter their work hours or move indoors to prevent exposure to smoke. Click the links below for state-specific resources and advice for reducing your exposure to harmful wildfire smoke.

Colorado (English)
Colorado (Spanish)
North & South Dakota
Gen​eral (not state-specific)


 Ag Centers Project and Contact List

Since 1990, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has funded Centers for agricultural disease and injury research, education, and prevention. There are currently 11 regional "Ag Centers" across the country, all focused on reducing on-the-job injuries and illnesses found in agriculture, forestry, and fishing. View the list of projects that have been funded by NIOSH from 2016 to September 2021. You can also view the list of projects funded from 2011 until September 2016.


AgrAbility provides education and assistance to disabled agricultural workers. The vision of AgrAbility is to enhance quality of life for farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural workers with disabilities. While the term "disability" often brings to mind conditions such as spinal cord injuries and amputations, AgrAbility addresses not only these but also many other conditions, such as arthritis, back impairments, and behavioral health issues. AgrAbility can provide the tools and gear so that disabled workers can return to work.

 Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing at NIOSH

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) provides funding for 10 U.S. Agricultural Safety and Health Centers, including HICAHS. Learn about the agriculture, forestry, and fishing program and access educational resources through their website. An extensive list of health and safety issues in agriculture, forestry, and fishing is provided on their website, including resources.

 AgriSafe Network

The AgriSafe Network provides education and training to agricultural health and safety professionals. They are broadly known for providing free webinars on staying healthy and safe in agriculture. They also provide a course for rural health providers on agricultural medicine, a course for college students on agricultural health and safety, risk assessment tools, and safety videos. Visit their safety store to get the right type of personal protective equipment for your agricultural job.

 Watch our Videos


The 10 U.S. Agricultural Safety and Health Centers have created a variety of health and safety videos on the following topics:

Watch these videos at


 Agvocacy Groups


​Want to learn more about how your food is grown? The following websites provide forums for consumers to interact with farmers.

  • Food for Thought – Kansas State-based group of students looking to bridge the gap between farmers and consumers.
  • CommonGround – A woman-to-woman forum between women who grow food, and the women who buy it. It’s a conversation based on personal experience as farmers, but also on science and research.
  • Agriculture More Than Ever – This Canadian group provides great graphics, webinars and more to help tell agriculture’s story. Although focused on Canadian ag, many of the tips and graphics can apply to Colorado.
  • Elanco’s ENOUGH Movement – This website and e-newsletter have great social media info. and resources on solving food security.

 CDC Learning Connection

​Link. Log in. Learn. CDC Learning Connection helps you locate learning products and resources from across the public health community.

 Code of Practice for Safety and Health in Agriculture

​The International Labour Organization developed this code of practice to raise awareness of the hazards and risks associated with agriculture and promote their effective management and control; to help prevent occupational accidents and diseases and improve the working environment in practice; to encourage governments, employers, workers and other stakeholders to cooperate to prevent accidents and diseases; and to promote more positive attitudes and behavior towards occupational safety and health in agriculture throughout the sector.

 Community Animal Disaster Planning Toolkit

The Community Animal Disaster Planning Toolkit was developed by Colorado State University Extension in collaboration with HICAHS researchers​. The toolkit includes step-by-step instructions for building a community response plan for pets in the case of an emergency. A series of webinars and a video accompany the kit.

 Dairy Agricultural Human Resource Management Training Modules

​South Dakota State University Extension has developed a set of Agricultural Human Resource Management Training Modules for dairy owners and workers. There are two modules, "Employing and Managing Hispanic Labor" and "Milking Protocol Defined Via Standard Operating Procedures."

 Farm Emergency Planning

Farms are full of complex machinery and equipment that can be very deadly, and anyone without a farming background would likely be out of their realm around such equipment. Emergency responders living in heavily agricultural states know how brutal farm accidents can be. Pre-planning for farm-related emergencies will save time, save lives and property, and will protect the emergency personnel.

Firefighters and EMS personnel responding to a farm emergency shouldn’t need to take vital time out of the call to learn about the workings of the equipment, bins, silos, or product involved. This can turn a short rescue into an hours-long ordeal and shorten the likelihood of success.

The Penn State Agricultural Extension’s Farm Emergencies program targets these kinds of emergencies. Training for first responders includes modules on farm confined space, managing farm chemicals, animal emergencies, and grain elevator and feed mill fires. The site lists several helpful brochures and flyers, case studies of the training’s impact, and emergency first aid care for farmers modules. The program will travel outside Pennsylvania; please contact the program’s staff for detailed criteria.

Several other state agricultural extension offices have similar classes or programs available, be sure to check with your local Extension office. In addition, see the Helping Responders Handle Farm Emergencies GuideUnited States Department of Agriculture, the University of Missouri Extension, and the National Ag Safety Database. (Source: Penn State Agricultural Extension)


 Health Hazard Evaluation

​Are you worried that something in your workplace is making you sick? The Health Hazard Evaluation Program at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) provides free workplace evaluations of health hazards such as:
  • Physical agents, such as heat and noise
  • Biological agents, such as mold
  • Infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and influenza
  • Chemical substances, such as solvents, metals, and particulates
  • Workplace conditions, such as ergonomics and work stress from excessive workload demands or bullying
For more information, read this brochure or visit

 HICAHS Directory of Regional Resources (2015)

The directory includes contact information for federal agencies, state and local agencies, nonprofit organizations, academic institutions and organizations, and international agencies involved in prevention of occupational illnesses and injuries in agriculture, forestry and fisheries in the HICAHS region, which includes Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.

 HICAHS Newsletters

​Read the HICAHS newsletters. Topics include pesticide handling, roll-over protective structures on tractors, ATV safety, and antimicrobial resistance, among others.

 Dairy Safety Training Videos: Considering Human and Animal Safety

​Today's dairy workforce needs to know how to handle large animals, operate specialized equipment, and deal with extreme weather conditions without harming themselves or animals. In this video series "Considering Human and Animal Safety," best practices are outlined on how to safely and productively care for dairy cows while reducing risk of injury to yourself. Videos are availble in English, Spanish, and K'iche.

 eXtension: Ag Safety and Health Resource Area

 A one-stop shop for all your agricultural safety and health needs. Take online courses to strengthen your health and safety knowledge, visit "Ask an Expert" to get your questions answered, and access other articles and resources such as the Farm Family Emergency Response Program

 National Ag Safety Database

​The National Ag Safety Database (NASD) is a repository of health and safety information for agriculture. Search the database for health and safety publications produced by Ag Centers, Extension groups, and other health and safety organizations.

 OSHA's Agricultural Operations Webpage

​Visit OSHA's webpage dedicated specifically to agricultural safety and health. One example of an OSHA resource is their agricultural QuickCards. "Protecting Farmworkers from Tractor and Harvester Hazards" and "Backing Up Farm Vehicles and Equipment Safely" QuickCards explain the hazards and safety precautions to take to prevent serious injuries, and are also available in Spanish.

 OSHA Consultation

​OSHA's On-site Consultation Program offers free and confidential safety and occupational health advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. When your business receives an OSHA consultation, no citations or penalties are incurred for violation of OSHA standards, nor will the results be reported to OSHA enforcement staff. Find an OSHA Consultation Program in your state, or visit their website for information:

 Rural Policy Research Institute

The Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) was founded to address concerns of members of the Senate Agricultural Committee that no objective non-governmental source of external data, information, and analysis, regarding the rural and community impacts of public policy decisions was available. RUPRI’s mission is to provide unbiased analysis and information on the challenges, needs, and opportunities facing rural America, and to spur public dialogue and help policymakers understand the impacts of public policies and programs on rural people and places.

 Safe Agritourism

​With the growing popularity of petting zoos and other ag attractions, it is increasingly important for agritourism farmers to keep visitors safe. At you will find an interactive web guide that includes checklists and resources such as signs, policies, and logos.

 YouTube - U.S. Ag Centers' Channel

​The ten U.S. Agricultural Safety and Health Centers have together created a YouTube channel for information on working safely in agriculture, forestry, and fishing. Topics include: respiratory protection, livestock safety, tractor and machinery safety, child development, emergency response, grain safety, pesticide safety, heat-illness prevention, ladder safety, and hearing protection.

Children's Health and Safety


 Cultivate Safety

​This website's tagline, "Parent First. Farmer Second" encompasses the Cultivate Safety philosophy. This website has resources on creating a safe environment for kids on their farm, including information on the North American Guidelines for Children's Agricultural Tasks.

 National Children's Center

​The National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety is sponsored by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to enhance the health and safety of all children exposed to hazards associated with agricultural work and rural environments.

 North American Guidelines for Children's Agricultural Tasks

Many children get excellent hands-on work experience when they are raised on a farm, but have you checked if your child is ready to do the work? There are practical considerations to consider, such as "Can my child reach the controls on the equipment?" or "Can my child push or pull 10-15% of her body weight?"

Review the North American Guidelines for Children's Agricultural Tasks to check if your child has learned the appropriate skills to do a task correctly and safely. Topics include animal care, operating implements, haying, tractor operation, and more.

 Play it Farm Safe

​Play it Farm Safe is an interactive web game designed for tweens to help them learn about risks found on farms. The game has five modules: chainsaws and woodlot, ATV safety, animals and livestock, tractor and machinery, and "out and about," a general module about clothing, weather, and tools.

 Progressive Agriculture Foundation

​Progressive Agriculture Safety Days are fun, educational events that teach children lessons to help keep them and those around them safe and healthy. While the basic program is designed for 8- to 13-year-old children, Safety Days may adjusted to accommodate younger children or entire families. Safety Days can be open to the entire community or they may be customized for specific schools, or classes.