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Minority Farm Operator Occupational Injury Surveillance of Production Agriculture (M-OISPA) Survey

Frequently Asked Questions


M-OISPA is an acronym for the Minority Farm Operator Occupational Injury Surveillance of Production Agriculture survey. M-OISPA data are collected for NIOSH by the US Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Users can get estimates for the number of working adults on minority operated farms in the US and estimates for the number of occupational injuries to adults that occurred on these farms.

An occupational injury is defined as any traumatic event that resulted in at least four hours of restricted activity or required professional medical attention, and occurred while performing activities that had a direct impact on the farming operation as a business, regardless of whether the activity was performed for pay.

All farm operators who self-reported as a racial minority or Hispanic on the most recent Census of Agriculture were included in the sampling frame. Racial minorities include operators who reported their race as Black/African American, American Indian/Native Alaskan, Asian/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, multi-racial, or other self-defined minority races. Hispanic operators are those who reported their ethnicity as Spanish, Hispanic, or of Latino origin or background (e.g., Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican), regardless of their race.

No. There are farm operators who are both a racial minority and of Hispanic origin. To account for this, the data are divided into two separate files. Because these data are not mutually exclusive, the actual number of minority farming operations (either racial minority or Hispanic) is not the sum of the racial minority farm operators and Hispanic farm operators.

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.

The M-OISPA was conducted in conjunction with the Minority Farm Operator Childhood Agricultural Injury Survey (M-CAIS). The M-CAIS sample is between 50,000 and 55,000 farming operations, with all primary minority operators on the Census of Agriculture list contacted for the survey. The survey is conducted the year following the NASS Census of Agriculture to utilize the most current list of minority farm operators. A stratified random sample of 25,000 farms was selected for the M-OISPA.

For Hispanic operated farms, sampling weights were calculated based on the total number of Hispanic operated farms responding by geographical region and the number of Hispanic operated farms reported by NASS in the appropriate Census year for each region. For racial minority operated farms, sampling weights were calculated based on the total number of farms responding by geographical regions for each racial category and the number of race-specific farms reported by NASS in the appropriate Census year for each region. The nine geographical regions used are those defined by the US Bureau of the Censuspdf iconexternal icon. Finally, weights were adjusted based on three farm value of sales categories (< $10,000, $10,000 – $99,999, > $100,000). All estimates for both the injury and demographic data were obtained using the SAS SurveyMeans procedure for a stratified equal probability sample.

There are several limitations to the estimates derived from M-OISPA. First, the recall period for an injury was up to 15 months. While the definition of injury excluded minor injuries, which may be easily forgotten, there is still the possibility that a reportable injury was not remembered by a respondent. A second limitation is that most of the respondents were the female head of household, which may have resulted in an under reporting of hired worker injuries, especially for larger farming operations with many employees. Third, there was no way to verify the accuracy or completeness of the responses, which could impart some measurement error into the overall results. Fourth, these data do not include injuries that occurred to contract farm workers. Fifth, there 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. Finally, the estimates produced for Hispanic and racial minority farm operations cannot be combined to produce an overall estimate for minority farm operations. Because it is possible for an operator to report being of Hispanic origin and a racial minority of the Census of Agriculture, the two estimates are not mutually exclusive.

Caution should be used in comparing the estimates from M-OISPA to those reported from other public health 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.

Although the M-OISPA and OISPA used a nearly identical survey methodology, different statistical weights are used to calculate the national estimates. Because of this, an accurate comparison cannot be made just by looking at the percentages and frequencies. Comparisons should only be made when utilizing standard errors or 95% Confidence Intervals for each estimate to gauge the sampling errors from the different surveys. Standard errors can be requested from NIOSH.

Yes. M-OISPA data can be used for aggregate statistical reporting and analysis only. The data available through M-OISPA 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.

M-OISPA users should:

  • Use the M-OISPA data for aggregate or summary statistical reporting and analysis only.
  • Not link M-OISPA 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.

When citing data obtained from M-OISPA, 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). Minority Farm Operator Occupational Injury Surveillance of Production Agriculture (M-OISPA) surveys public-use data, 2003 and 2008. July 2013. Accessed at on [date of access].

Page last reviewed: April 10, 2018