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Silhouette of man loading hay bales

Farm Safety Survey (FSS)

Frequently Asked Questions

About FSS

What is FSS?

FSS is an acronym for the Farm Safety Survey. FSS data are collected for NIOSH by the US Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service.

What data are available from FSS?

Users can get national estimates for the number of farms with various types of machinery, animals, grain storage facilities, and other potential injury exposures.

Where does FSS get its data?

The data were collected through an interagency agreement between NIOSH and the US Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service. The survey was conducted by telephone interview.

How was the survey designed?

Using the Census of Agriculture as a sampling frame, a stratified (by geographic region) random sample of 25,000 farm households nationwide was selected for inclusion in the FSS.

How are national estimates generated?

Sampling weights were calculated based on the total number of farms responding by geographical region and the number of farms reported by NASS in the appropriate calendar year for each region. The nine geographical regions used are those defined by the US Bureau of the Census. Weights were then adjusted based on three farm “value of sales categories” (< $10,000, $10,000 – $99,999, ≥ $100,000).

Why do some tables only have data for one year (2006 or 2011)?

Due to changes in the questionnaire, some questions were not asked or were asked in a different way between the 2006 and 2011 surveys. In order to provide the most complete data for users, some data tables could only be presented for one year. In most instances where the questions were asked differently (e.g., silos, pesticides), a separate table for each year is provided.

What are the survey limitations?

There are some limitations to the estimates derived from FSS. First, it is not possible to verify the accuracy or completeness of the responses provided by individual farm operators, which could impart measurement error into the overall results. A second limitation is the possibility of a non-response bias. Due to the survey design, it was not possible to make a second contact to farm operators who refused to participate in the survey. This did not allow for a followback questionnaire to assess these refusals.

Can I compare estimates from FSS to other agricultural data?

Caution should be used in comparing the estimates from FSS to those reported from other data sets. A careful review of the definitions, methods, and limitations of these data should be made before making comparisons to other published reports or studies.

Are there privacy restrictions on FSS data?

Yes. FSS data can be used for aggregate statistical reporting and analysis only. The data available through FSS are for public use and do not include information that would allow for the identification of an individual or a farm.

These data are covered under United States Code, Title 18, Sections 1902 and 1905; and Title 7, Section 2276.

FSS users should:

  • Use the FSS data for aggregate or summary statistical reporting and analysis only.
  • Not link FSS results with individually identifiable data from other NIOSH or non-NIOSH data files.
  • Make no use of the identity of any farm operation or individual discovered inadvertently and advise the Director, NIOSH, of any such discovery (800-35-NIOSH).

By using these data, you signify your agreement to comply with the above-stated statutorily based requirements.

What is the suggested citation for data from the FSS tables?

When citing data obtained from FSS, each citation should include the data source, the web address, and the date of access. The suggested citation is:

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Farm Safety Survey public-use data, 2006, 2011. January 2014. Accessed at on [date of access].