Year of Publication



Public Health

Date Available


Degree Name

Dr. of Public Health (Dr.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Wayne Sanderson

Committee Member

Steve Browning

Committee Member

Erin Abner

Committee Member

W. Jay Christian


Occupational studies show that farmers are at higher risk for suicide with rates at least two-fold those of the U.S. population.2-4 Therefore, the purpose of this study was to (1) determine age- and sex-specific farmer suicide rates, (2) evaluate rate trends, and (3) assess the relationship between commodity production and farmer suicide using the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) and quinquennial Census of Agriculture. We identified 1,652 farmer suicide cases from the NVDRS. Age-specific rates showed the highest rates among male farmers over 64 at 14.03 per 100,000. Annual rates for the 15-year study period peaked during 2013 at 19.37 per 100,000 persons but were lower than rates for U.S. males. State rates were highest rates in New Mexico (29.149 per 100,000) and California (25.55 per 100,000). No statistically significant Joinpoints were identified, however, the model showed a positive Annual Percent Change of 2.44. The rate of farmer suicide in medium soy production counties was 0.56 times the rate of suicide for low soy production counties. The age-standardized male farmer suicide rates show farmer suicide rates are lower than suicide rates for U.S. males, however, farmer suicide rates continue to rise indicating a shift in farmer suicide risk.

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