Florence Becot Live-stream

Taking care of farm children during COVID-19 and implications on children’s exposure to farm risk

Florence Becot, PhD, National Farm Medicine Center


Florence Becot is a rural sociologist and associate research scientist at the National Farm Medicine Center. Her research program focuses on the interactions between the health, well-being, safety, and the economic viability of farm families. Current work includes health insurance, health care, and childcare access for farm families as well as responses to farmer mental health difficulties.

Learning objective:
-Participants will be able to describe the strategies used by farm parents to look after their children during the COVID-19 pandemic;

-Participants will be able to list 3 to 4 recommendations to help farm parents who are experiencing childcare difficulties during periods of social distancing and during ‘normal’ times.


In early Spring of 2020, public and private sector organizations across the U.S. took sudden and drastic measures to limit the spread of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). While crucial from a public health perspective, these measures likely led many farm parents, in particular those with children who are normally cared for off the worksite and/or attend school, with suddenly having to juggle childcare, homeschooling, farm work, and off-farm work. In turn, these changes may have led to increased exposure of children to farm risk. Using a socio-ecological model coupled with an online survey of farm parents to be deployed late July, I will present the findings of an early assessment of the ways farm parents navigated COVID-19-related changes in terms of childcare and schooling arrangements, changes compared to pre-COVID-19 period, difficulties they might have experienced, and changes in the presence of children on the farm worksite. Besides providing empirical insights into the realities of farm parents with childcare and schooling arrangements, a current gap of the farm safety literature, I will draw on the findings to develop for programs, resources, and policy recommendations aimed at supporting farm parents experiencing childcare difficulties both during the period of continued public health emergency and in ‘normal’ times.

Florence Becot’s presentation begins at timestamp 32:05