Nationwide study aims for comprehensive view of health care’s effects on farm and ranch families

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas farmers, ranchers and their employees are being asked to participate in a nationwide survey about health-care choices in the agriculture industry.

 

“This survey is a chance for farmers and ranchers to make their voices heard about their experiences with health insurance and how that affects both their economic development and family’s quality of life,” said Bonnie Braun, professor emerita for the University of Maryland School of Public Health, and a consultant for University of Maryland Extension.

 

The multi-year research initiative is a joint effort between the USDA and the Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis. The project titled, “Health Insurance, Rural Economic Development and Agriculture” (HIREDnAG), is funded by a $500,000 USDA Rural Communities and Regional Development grant. The study began in 2015 with a small group of farm and ranch families. In 2016, telephone surveys were conducted, and several educational tools were developed to help guide producers and their families in choosing their best options for health care.

 

“We know from our prior research that farmers identify the cost of health insurance as a key barrier to growing their farms or farming full time,” said lead researcher Shoshanah Inwood, rural sociologist and professor at the University of Vermont.

 

“Kansas is an important agricultural state, and we want to hear how health insurance influences farm families and farm businesses in the state,” she added. “By participating in the survey you will help identify policies and programs that can help Kansas farms succeed and grow.”

 

Inwood stressed that all survey responses will be kept confidential. She adds that smart phone screens are too small to handle the format of the survey, so she recommends taking it on desktops, laptops or tablets such as an iPad or Kindle Fire.

 

The deadline for participating in the survey is March 31.

 

To participate in the survey, go to https://survey.uvm.edu/index.php/132344?lang=en.