Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Hamilton Cravens


Between 1940 and 1975, farmers chose to adopt new machines, different farming methods and ever-widening array of chemicals all of which presented unfamiliar hazards. Farm Families had always been exposed risks from hand-tools, domestic animals and inclement weather, however, potential health risks multiplied in the mid twentieth century. Farmers could be injured in a myriad of ways in their attempt to grow crops, raise livestock or even in bringing their commodities to market. An individual's clothing or limbs could become entangled in a machine's unguarded moving parts, a tractor driver might be crushed during an accidental overturn and person carelessly applying chemicals could experience a disabling injury or even death;Farm families were particularly vulnerable to accidental injury or death due to the unique their profession's unique aspects. Such factors as farming's entrepreneurial nature and the general lack of regulatory protections greatly contributed to agricultural work's hazardous nature. The fact that people of diverse ages and skill levels routinely labored on the nation's farm further also added to the issue's complexity. Such aspects of the farm safety problem persisted throughout the era despite the existence of a movement to reduce the dangers associated with farming;Farm safety specialists, National Safety Council (NSC) representatives as well as leaders of many other organizations cooperated in launching and sustaining an effort throughout the period. In the 1940s, the farm safety movement's development was greatly aided by heightened accident prevention concerns created by technological change as well as the desire to conserve labor during wartime. Farm safety supporters transformed an effort which had been piecemeal and feeble into a highly coordinated, energetic and national effort by the decade's close. Safety advocates primarily devoted their energies on educational campaigns delivered by state extension employees, agricultural youth groups, and other farm oriented organizations. Despite this initial cooperative atmosphere, by the early 1960s, agricultural and safety leaders who labored to improve safety worked in a more contentious environment as a result of the controversial legislation, institutional struggles, and new legal understandings of accident culpability.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Derek S. Oden



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

301 pages