Health insurance coverage for farmers varies by commodity specialization

A chart showing the share of farm persons uninsured, by commodity specialization, year 2010.

In 2010, about half of farm household members had health insurance coverage from an employment-based plan. One major reason that a farmer or rancher would work solely on the farm and not have access to employer-sponsored insurance through an off-farm job is the intensive time commitment for some commodity specializations. An example of this is dairy production. Farming is the major occupation for nearly all of those who specialize in dairy production-significantly more than the 46 percent across specialties. Compared to the 55 percent of all farm household members who receive insurance from employer-sponsored plans, only 32 percent of dairy household members do. In 2010, about half of dairy household members were uninsured, compared to 12.8 percent for all farm household members. This chart is found in the Farm Household Economics and Well-Being topic on the ERS website, updated November 29, 2011.

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