Original Article

OPEN ACCESS: A Proportionate Mortality Study of Mississippi’s Agricultural Industry, 2017–2021

Authors: Devon Mills, PhD, Mary Nelson Robertson, PhD, Brian E. Mills, PhD, David R. Buys, PhD


Objectives: Individuals employed in the agricultural industry encounter hazards in their work that could lead to injury or illness. Furthermore, the mental stress of being involved in the agricultural industry could lead to negative health-related outcomes for workers. This study evaluates the causes of deaths among employees in Mississippi’s agricultural industry from 2017 to 2021.

Methods: Data are provided by the Mississippi Department of Health. Proportionate mortality ratios (PMRs) are calculated to determine if agricultural industry employees show an elevated mortality in comparison to the general population for any cause of death.

Results: Agricultural industry employees show a statistically significant elevated mortality for circulatory disease (PMR 107, 95% confidence interval [CI] 103–110) and coronavirus disease 2019 (PMR 122, 95% CI 111–134). They also show a significant excess mortality for deaths caused by transport accidents (PMR 117, 95% CI 101–136) and exposure to inanimate mechanical forces (PMR 274, 95% CI 183–396).

Conclusions: The causes of death for which agricultural employees show an excess mortality can be explained by the hazards associated with working in the agricultural industry. These findings can be used to create targeted future public health programs for individuals who are employed in agriculture.

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