Childcare, Farm Economic Development & Quality of Life

In the U.S. affordable, quality childcare has become a growing national policy issue, but there is little research or extension programing about this issue in the farm sector. To address this gap, this national integrated research and extension project empirically examines the relationship between childcare and the farm business to understand how on-farm children directly affect production and marketing systems, labor needs, profitability, farm safety, family economics and quality of life.

Project Partners

Shoshanah Inwood, School of Environment & Natural Resources, OSU

Florence Becot, National Farm Medicine Center, National Children’s Center for Rural Agricultural Health and Safety, Marshfield Research Clinic

Andrea Rissing, Emory University

Research Results and Outreach Materials

Inwood, S.M. and Stengel, E. 2020. “Community and Care: Exploring Child Care in Farm Families at the Rural Urban Interface.” Community Development.

Rissing, A., Inwood, S.M. and E. Stengel. 2020. “Farming Parents Are Working Parents: Tracing the Impact of Childcare on Agriculture and Food System Development.” Agriculture and Human Values.

Outreach Articles and Videos

Inwood, S.M., Becot, F. and A. Rissing. 2021. “Family farms are struggling with two hidden challenges: health insurance and child care.” The Conversation.

How does childcare affect farm economic development and quality of life? 3 Minute Video

New Research Project

National Farm Medicine Center and OSU Collaborate on CDC Study: Linking Childcare to Farm Safety 

For over 20 years, farm safety experts have argued that one of the best way to prevent farm incidents is through the supervision of children by a dedicated childcare provider off the worksite. Besides connections to the safety of farm children, childcare arrangement also impact farm parents’ productivity and a range of farm business decisions. While farm parents experience challenges accessing and paying for childcare that parallel those of working parents across the United States, there has been little in-depth research examining farm families’ actual experiences with childcare and the types of childcare arrangements and supports that would benefit farmers and rural communities. Funded by the CDC, this projects examines:

1) What strategies and support systems farm parents use to keep their children safe while they work?
2) To what extent do farm parents consider childcare as risk mitigation and farm business strategies?
3) What are the factors that shape farm parents’ use of childcare?
4) What type of social, economic, and policy supports could increase childcare use?