Rudolphi-Miller Presentation

Characteristics of suicide among crop and animal producers: Results from the CDC NVDRS, 2003-2017

Co-presenters:  Josie M. Rudolphi, PhD, University of Illinois & Cristina Miller, PhD, Rural Development Innovation Center, Data Analytics Division, United States Department of Agriculture

Josie M. Rudolphi, PhD, is an assistant professor and Extension specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She directs the USDA funded Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network in the North Central Region and conducts research and outreach related to farm stress, mental health, and injury prevention.

Cristina Miller, PhD, is a research economist with USDA Rural Development Innovation Center. Her research focuses on rural and farmer health, mental health, disability, and access to healthcare.

Learning objective:
Participants will be able to describe characteristics of suicide among crop and animal producers in the states contributing to the NVDRS.


Suicide is among the leading causes of premature death in the United States. There are demographic, occupational, and environmental factors that may increase farmers’ risk of suicide. The objective of this analysis was to characterize suicides among crop and animal producers. Data for this study were obtained from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) Restricted Access Database for the years 2003-2017. To identify farmers and ranchers we limited our analysis to decedents who met the following industry classification: Crop production (Census Code 0170), Animal production (Census Code 0180) and the following occupation classification: Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers (Census Code 0205).

Our analysis was limited to 1,655 farmer and rancher deaths by suicide between January 1, 2003, and December 31, 2017 in reporting states. Nearly 45% of the farmers and ranchers who died by suicide were ages 65 and older, 32% were between the ages of 46 and 64 and 23% percent were between the ages of 18 and 45. We will describe mechanism of death, precipitating factors, and mental health history of farmers who died by suicide in the sample.

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