Prevalence and Risk Factors for Pulmonary Conditions among Farmers and Ranchers in the Central United States

Jagadeesh Puvvula, Lorena Baccaglini, Anthony Johnson, Yi Du, Jesse E. Bell, Risto H. Rautiainen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This study was conducted to evaluate the prevalence and risk factors for work-related respiratory conditions (asthma, farmer’s lung, sinusitis, rhinitis, and environmental allergies, diagnosed by a physician) among farm and ranch operators in the central US. A survey was conducted by the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (CS-CASH) in 2018, focusing on work-related injuries, illnesses, exposures, and preventive measures in a seven-state region (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota). Farms and ranches (n = 16,818) with an email address and annual sales exceeding $5,000 were randomly selected for the survey. Agricultural production and weather data were merged with survey responses. The relationship between exposures and respiratory conditions was analyzed using generalized estimating equations. We received responses from 3,268 agricultural operations (19% response rate) containing information on 4,064 individual operators. The life-time prevalence of (any) respiratory conditions among farm/ranch operators was 18%. Risk factors for respiratory conditions included exposures to grain/hay/feed dust (OR 2.41), animal confinement dust (OR 1.57), field/road dust (OR 2.11), manure/silage gasses (OR 1.66), anhydrous ammonia (OR 1.51), fuels/solvents/paints (OR 1.92), older age group >70 vs. <43 (OR 1.40), female gender (OR 1.82), and being primary vs. third operator (OR 1.61). Farmers and ranchers have a high prevalence of respiratory conditions associated with dust and gas exposures at work. More effective protective measures are needed using the hierarchy of controls, including improved use of respiratory protection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-390
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Agromedicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022


  • Respiratory condition
  • agriculture
  • dust
  • exposure
  • farm
  • gas
  • ranch

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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