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Seeking farmers' and ranchers' voices on health insurance

Posted: March 6, 2017

The Northeast Center is part of a multi-state research and Extension team studying health insurance, farm and ranching families and operations. The project is seeking farmers and ranchers to complete a 20-minute survey aimed at understanding their experiences with health insurance and how those experiences affect both their farm's economic development and their family’s quality of life.

Led by Shoshanah Inwood, rural sociologist and professor at the University of Vermont, the project team sent survey-notification letters to randomly selected participants in ten states earlier this year. Now they have opened the survey to farmers and ranchers in all 50 US states.

If you work with farmers or ranchers, please share the survey link with them: http://bit.ly/2kWuJws

"We’re interested in hearing from multi-generation, beginning, and first generation farm and ranch families across all ages and  sectors of agriculture. We want to understand what parts of health insurance are working well for farmers and ranchers and what types of policy and program modifications need to be made. Results will be shared with agriculture and health policy makers,” Inwood said, adding that responses will be confidential and only summary statistics will be reported.

Findings will be used to guide the development of training materials for professionals who work with farmers and ranchers—such as Extension Educators, farm consultants, and tax accountants—so that they can support farmers’ and ranchers' ability to make well-informed decisions regarding health insurance.

The survey questions are based on interviews conducted in 2016 with smaller groups of farmers and ranchers in the 10 states being researched. This study is a four-year national project exploring how health insurance options impact the farm and ranch population in the U.S. The project, titled “Health Insurance, Rural Economic Development and Agriculture” (HIREDnAG), is funded by a $500,000 USDA Rural Communities and Regional Development grant.

Project partners include the Northeast, North Central, Southern and Western Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDCs); University of Vermont Center for Rural Studies; University of Vermont Extension; Center for Rural Affairs; University of Maryland Extension; and, the Farm Foundation.

For more information, visit the HIREDnAG website: http://www.hirednag.net/
Or contact Katlyn Morris, HIREDnAG Project Coordinator at or by phone at 802-656-0257.