Minority Farm Operator Childhood Agricultural Injury Survey (M-CAIS) Results

Frequently Asked Questions

M-CAIS is an acronym for the Minority Farm Operator Childhood Agricultural Injury Survey. M-CAIS data are collected for NIOSH by the US Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Users can get estimates for the number of youth on minority operated (racial minority or Hispanic) farms in the US, and estimates for the number of injuries to youth that occurred on these farms.

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, Native American/Pacific Islander, Asian, 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.

An injury is defined as any traumatic event that resulted in 4 hours or more of restricted activity, or required professional medical treatment.

A work-related injury is one that occurred while performing work or chores on the farm that was associated with the farm business, regardless of whether the work was performed for pay.

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-CAIS sample is between 50,000 and 55,000 farming operations, with all minority operators on the Census of Agriculture list contacted for the survey. The M-CAIS is generally conducted the year following the Census, which is conducted every five years, to utilize the most current list of minority farm operators. The first M-CAIS covered the calendar year 2000. Since then, two additional M-CAIS have been conducted covering calendar years 2003 and 2008.

For Hispanic operated farms, sampling weights were calculated based on the total number of farms responding by geographical region and the number of farms reported by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) in the appropriate calendar 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. The nine geographical regions used are those defined by the US Bureau of the CensusCdc-pdfExternal . Finally, in 2008 only, weights for both Hispanic and racial minority operated farms were further adjusted based on three farm value of sales categories ($10,000, $10,000 – $99,999, > $100,000).

There are several limitations to the estimates derived from M-CAIS. First, the recall period for an injury in this survey 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 surveys were conducted with the female head of household, which may have resulted in an under reporting of hired youth injuries, especially for larger farming operations with many employees. Third, there was no way to verify the accuracy or completeness of the responses given in this survey, which could impart some measurement error into the overall results. Fourth, this survey did not include injuries that occurred to young contract farm workers. A fifth 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 follow back questionnaire to assess these refusals. Because it is possible for an operator to report being of Hispanic origin and a racial minority on the Census of Agriculture, the Hispanic and racial minority estimates are not mutually exclusive and cannot be combined to produce an overall estimate for minority farm operations.

Caution should be used in comparing the estimates from M-CAIS 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-CAIS and CAIS 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-CAIS data can be used for aggregate statistical reporting and analysis only. The data available through M-CAIS 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-CAIS users should:

  • Use the M-CAIS data for aggregate or summary statistical reporting and analysis only.
  • Not link M-CAIS 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-CAIS, 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 Childhood Agricultural Injury Survey (M-CAIS) public-use data, 2000, 2003, 2008 . October 2012. Accessed at on [date of access].

Page last reviewed: April 10, 2018