Study: Farmers average just three sick days a year

RICHMOND—A new study conducted by Gallup and Healthways suggests that farmers, foresters and those in the commercial fishing industry take the second-smallest number of sick days in the nation.

The three professions are ranked second, behind physicians, with an average of three days a year.

Kitty Hockman-Nicholas, a Frederick County dairy and produce farmer, said “I’d have to be like ‘I can’t raise my head up’ sick” to take a day off.

That sentiment was echoed by CJ Isbell, a Hanover County beef, poultry, pork, feed grain and hay producer. “I would have to not be able to get out of bed to take a sick day. It’s been three years since I’ve taken a sick day, and that was after I had surgery,” Isbell said.

“As a matter of fact, right now I have strep, and I’m still working out here on the farm.”

The study suggested the constant needs of livestock and crops are a major reason farmers take few days off. Isbell and Hockman-Nicholas agreed.

“Either way, animals need to be fed,” Isbell said.

Professions found to take more sick days include service workers, office workers, nurses and business owners.

Contact Pam Wiley, VFBF communications, at 804-290-1128.

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