CDC Confirms Farmer Suicide Data Was Flawed

CDC confirms its data on the number of U.S. farmer suicides is flawed. ( File Photo )

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that numbers widely cited by reporters regarding the rate of farmer suicides in the U.S. are wrong.

Journalists across the country, including this writer, have referenced the 2016 study. So, what went wrong?

The CDC told The New Food Economy reporters Nathan Rosenberg and Bryce Wilson Stucki that it had misclassified farmers in the study, lumping them into a category that included fishing and forestry workers--what the CDC classifies as “Triple F” workers.

“This error inflated the suicide rate for Triple-F workers and made any conclusions about farmer suicides impossible to determine,” Rosenberg and Stucki wrote in their article last Thursday. “The revised rate for Triple-F workers is now third among occupational groups in the study, while CDC has yet to release a suicide rate for farmers.”

You can learn more about the flawed data in this email, which a CDC official sent to Rosenberg and Stucki.