Cultivating Wellness for Aging Farmers through Partnerships

Cultivating Wellness for Aging Farmers through Partnerships


Many farmers in our region continue to live and work well past retirement age. Aging can bring on new challenges on the farm. The body changes with age, sometimes causing slow reaction times, mobility challenges, eyesight, and hearing loss. As you can imagine, these physical changes can make working with farm hazards like pesticides, animals, and heavy machinery more dangerous.

With this in mind, UMASH has been working on projects and encouraging conversations to help make sure farmers are safe on the farm as they grow older.

Community Forums

In 2020, UMASH hosted online community forums and asked agricultural community members and health professionals about what made it difficult for farmers to continue to live and work on the farm as they age. We heard common concerns about accessing healthcare, managing stress and anxiety, maintaining balance and coordination, and preventing musculoskeletal injuries.

UMASH responded to these concerns by partnering with community organizations that worked to make aging on the farm easier and safer for farmers.

Aging Forum October 12 2023

Learn more about the 2023 Virtual UMASH Forum

Healthy & Safe Aging on the Farm – October 12, 2023 @ 9:30am Central

Partner Projects

At the 2023 NORA Symposium, UMASH graduate student Erica Shuck presented a 5-minute summary of these projects and shared recommendations for next steps to support the aging agricultural workforce:

  • Increase awareness of existing community services. One of the projects found that some older farmers were unaware of available healthcare and aging support services that could make aging at home easier.
  • Support caregivers of aging farmers. Friends and family often provide care for farmers as they age at home on the farm. Supporting caregivers could help ensure that farmers can continue living safely at home.
  • Help farmers prepare for changing mobility. For many, aging comes with physical changes that can make moving around the home difficult. Creating and sharing ways farmers can modify the farmstead to adapt to changes in mobility could help them continue to live safely at home. For example, installing handrails and ramps can help prevent falls.
  • Use a variety of methods to share health and safety information. Some farmers do not have reliable internet access or use the internet regularly, so it is important to use both print and in-person outreach to ensure that all farmers can access health and safety information.
Erica Shuck

Erica Shuck

Watch Erica’s presentation

Aging on the Farm: UMASH Partner Projects
2023 NORA Symposium

Presented by:
Erica Shuck, UMASH Evaluation Research Assistant
Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center

Aging Forum October 12 2023

An engaging virtual forum bringing together individuals and groups committed to the well-being of farmers as they age

Thursday, October 12



To build upon these conversations and partnerships, UMASH is hosting another virtual forum to bring together anyone committed to the well-being of farmers as they age. Join us on October 12, 2023, from 9:30-11:30 a.m. to learn more, network, and participate in a panel discussion and Q&A with UMASH aging partners.

UMASH is excited to gather familiar and new partners across diverse fields and expertise, including farmers, experts on aging, ag health and safety professionals, occupational therapists, health practitioners, social workers, veterinarians, and more. Join us in collaborating on solutions for healthy and safe aging in agriculture.


This work has been a part of UMASH’s Emerging Issues Program. This program identifies health and safety concerns that are impacting agricultural workers in the Upper Midwest. Concerns could be about injuries, diseases, farming practices, or anything else affecting health and safety. If UMASH knows about these concerns, we can work to address them. Do you have a concern to share? Share it with us in this short survey.