A study of work related fatalities in the US agricultural production and services industries was conducted. The records of the National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities surveillance system were searched to identify all accidental deaths occurring on farms and in agricultural services sectors such as landscaping and tree removal services from 1980 through 1989. Data for each death were analyzed by gender, year of death, agricultural sector, race, general occupation, cause of death, and other factors. A total of 6,727 deaths, 5,823 occurring in agricultural production and 904 occurring in the agricultural services sector, occurred during the study period. By gender, 6,626 deaths occurred to males and 101 to females. By geographic region, the highest annual fatality rate occurred in the East South Central and South Atlantic states, 23.8 and 23.5 deaths/100,000, respectively, and the lowest in the New England states, 12.5 deaths/100,000. The overall average fatality rates for workers in the agricultural production and agricultural service sectors were 22.9 and 12.6 deaths/100,000, respectively. The annual average fatality rates in the agricultural service sector, but not the agricultural production sector, decreased over time, from 18.7 deaths/100,000 in 1981 to 10.1 deaths/100,000 in 1989. The major causes of death in the agricultural production sector were machinery, motor vehicles, environmental factors, and suffocation. Machinery related deaths averaged six times those in the agricultural services sector. In the agricultural services sector, being struck by falling objects was the major cause of death. By gender, the annual average fatality rate was significantly higher in males than females, 25.5 versus 1.5 deaths/100,000. In males, the risk of accidental death increased with age, the highest rate, 60.5 deaths/100,000, occurring in 65 year old males. The annual death rate in males generally decreased over time; however, the largest decrease, 65%, occurring in 10 to 24 year old males. The authors conclude that the data show that more research and prevention programs are needed to deal with the problem of accidental death in agricultural workers, particularly older male workers.