This paper examines both the farm accident problem and the institutional response it engendered. Farm safety leaders fashioned a largely educational movement to address farm families’ technologically complex environments, since farming’s entrepreneurial nature required a different approach than did efforts in other occupational domains. The nation’s rural policymakers had largely neglected the issue until the Second World War, when they recognized that farm accidents threatened the nation’s wartime mobilization efforts. The farm safety movement was characterized by a cooperative effort, which included the National Safety Council, the United States Department of Agriculture, land grant colleges, and the nation’s rural youth organizations. However, efforts to impose more stringent regulations faced resistance from farmers after the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

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