It’s no secret that agricultural work is tough work – and as America’s farm families know, it can be dangerous. Last year, agriculture recorded the highest fatal injury rate of any industry, with the rate of on-the-job fatality in agriculture nearly seven times the rate for all U.S. workers.
Adding complexity to this challenge is the unique role that youth play on the farm and ranch. Many farms and ranches are a family business. This important tradition strengthens American agriculture and instills important life skills for our young people.
Unfortunately, this means that young people also share in the hazards of farm work. On average, more than 100 youth die each year in farm-related accidents. Thousands more are injured on the farm or ranch.
Every injury or death on the farm is tragic, and the involvement of a young person makes such accidents particularly difficult to bear.
That’s why the Federal government has sought to help families, farm groups and businesses ensure youth safety on the farm, while still enabling young people to have the important chance to work in agriculture. Last year, USDA promised to address youth farm safety in innovative, comprehensive ways, working in partnership with folks from around the country.
On September 25, we announced new plans to strengthen that commitment by developing a national training curriculum to reduce agricultural hazards to young workers.