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Maura Bennett Nationwide Survey of Farmers and Ranchers Part 2
by Maura Bennett, click here for bio

Program: Colorado Ag Today
Date: August 04, 2017

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A new study says health care concerns are making the nation’s food producers stressed out and wondering who will replace them as they age out of the business.

Researchers funded by the USDA interviewed and surveyed more than a thousand farmers and ranchers across the country.

Shoshanna Inwood who led the study says they were surprised to hear young and beginning farmers and ranchers say access to health insurance is one of the most significant issues impacting the future of their farm or ranch.

“We need to better understand what are the issues that are impacting their ability to farm but then also to maintain those farmers on the landscape. So that they can pay all their bills have a good quality of life so that their children see that this is a great occupation that they want to enter. To try to remove some of that stress.

Some talked about the stress of farming full time and then having a full time job and commuting to that job. An in rural areas the best paying jobs are going to be in the public sector with the most generous insurance benefits.

We also heard that farmers are stressed about losing those jobs because if they get fired from those jobs they also lose the benefits for themselves and their families.”

Nearly half say they are worried they might have to sell off land or other assets to help pay for the cost of health care

3 out of 4 farmers age 65 and up said they were on Medicaid or another public option.

The study’s authors will send their findings to policy makers drafting the 2018 Farm Bill.

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