Health Care for Farmworkers

Sources estimate that there are between 3 to 5 million farmworkers in the United States. In 2005, migrant health centers provided care to more than 730,000 migratory and seasonal farm workers and their families around the United States.

The federal Bureau of Primary Health Care administers about $150 million in support to 147 community health centers in 39 states and Puerto Rico.


Two main sources of national data on farmworkers are the Department of Labor National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS) and the HRSA Bureau of Primary Health Care Uniform Data System.

The National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS), a nationwide random survey that obtains information directly from farmworkers, is by far the most cited national data source on farmworkers. The survey collects demographic and employment characteristics of the nation’s hired crop workers. The most recent NAWS is for the period 2001-2002. The data was obtained through face-to-face interviews with 6,472 crop farmworkers.

The BPHC Uniform Data System is an annual reporting requirement for all BPHC grantees that collects information on the health center operations and patient demographics. Although in the past the UDS has collected limited information on migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their families, as of 2005 migrant health grantees are required to provide both a universal report as well as separate tables 3 (users by age), 4 (health insurance demographics), 5 (encounters and users ), and 6 (selected diagnosis) for the migrant and seasonal farmworker population.

The BPHC Migrant Enumeration Profile provides county estimates of farmworkers based on estimated crop demand for labor for the Arkansas, Texas, California, Florida, Washington, North Carolina, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, and Oklahoma.

Other Resources on Farmworkers:

Bureau of Primary Health Care – Migrant Health Program

National Center for Farmworker Health, Inc

Migrant Clinicians Network

Locate a migrant health center 

Migrant Health Conferences and Events

There are many opportunities to attend conferences and other trainings related to farmworker issues. The conferences and trainings listed below are tailored to meet the needs of individuals involved in serving the Farmworker population.

NACHC holds an annual Conference for Agricultural Health, the only conference dedicated solely to the health and well-being of America’s migratory and seasonal workers.  Other related opportunities can be found at these websites:

East Coast Migrant Stream Forum

MidWest Migrant Stream Forum

West Coast Migrant Stream Forum

MAFO National Conference

AFOP National Conference

HAC Trainings and Events

HRSA Central Office Grantees 

The following organizations have migrant specific training and technical assistance cooperative agreements with the Health Resources and Services Administration:

National Center for Farmworker Health
1770 FM 967
Buda, TX 78610
(512) 312-2700
(800) 531-5120
Executive Director: Roberta E. Ryder

NCFH is a private, non-profit organization that seeks to eliminate the health disparities gap between farmworkers and the general population in the US. In order to support their goal, NCFH has three objectives: 1) Leadership Development and Training, 2) Migrant Health Network Support, and 3) formalize and expand the Migrant Health Network.

Migrant Clinicians Network
P.O. Box 164285
Austin, TX 78716
(512) 327-2017 phone
(512) 327-0719 fax
Chief Executive Officer: Karen Mountain

MCN is a national non- profit organization that serves as a networking resource for clinicians that work in federally funded migrant and community health centers and in state, regional and local health departments. In an effort to ensure quality health care services to migrant and seasonal farmworkers, MCN provides support, technical assistance, and professional development services to clinicians. In addition, the core work of MCN is a variety of educational assistance for clinicians to enhance clinical skills, launch new concepts and research, and to promote cultural competency.

Farmworker Justice Fund
1126 16th Street, N.W., Suite 270
Washington, D.C. 20036
Phone (202) 293-5420
Fax # (202) 293-5427
Co-Executive Directors: Bruce Goldstein and Shelley Davis

Founded in 1981, Farmworker Justice seeks to foster empowerment among migrant and seasonal farmworkers to improve their living and working conditions including but not limited to health issues. The organization work in areas such as litigation, administrative and legislative advocacy, training and technical assistance, coalition-building, public education and support for union organizing.

Farmworker Health Services, Inc.
Executive Office
Farmworker Health Services, Inc
405 14th Street, Suite 809
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 268-0091
Fax: (510) 268-0093
Executive Director: Oscar Gomez

Farmworker Health Services, Inc. (FHSI) is a national non-profit health organization working with local communities and community-based organizations to improve the quality of life of farmworker families. By professionalizing outreach services, FHSI has established itself as the leader in enhancing health organizations’ ability to successfully reach farmworkers and offer critically needed services. FHSI’s priority areas include Health Outreach and Enabling Services, Health Education and Prevention, Cultural Competency and Responsiveness, and Health Data and Outcome Measures.

Migrant Health Promotion
224 West Michigan Avenue
Saline, MI 48176
P (734) 944-0244
F (734) 944-1405
Executive Director: Tori Booker

Migrant Health Promotion builds on community strengths to improve health in farmworker and border communities. Programs provide peer health education, increase access to health resources and bring community members together with health providers, employers and policymakers to create positive changes. Community leaders, called Promotores and Promotoras de Salud, provide the inspiration, direction and vision necessary to build stronger, healthier communities — from within. Migrant Health Promotion maintains offices in Michigan and in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas. In addition, Migrant Health Promotion actively shares its expertise, materials and resources for developing Promotor(a) programs with health centers and other organizations across the country.

Federal Partners 

The Office of Migrant Education (OME) administers grant programs that provide academic and supportive services to the children of families who migrate to find work in the agricultural and fishing industries. OME also administers several contracts and special initiatives.

East Coast Migrant Head Start Project (ECMHSP) establishes, provides and promotes continuity of Head Start services to migrant children and their families along the East Coast of the United States. Through enabling children to develop their full potential, parents are challenged to become more self-actualized by being involved with their own child’s development and in decision-making structures throughout ECMHSP. Ongoing program and fiscal monitoring and training and technical assistance assure the continual growth of quality child development services at the center level and the promotion of staff development activities on a regular basis.

Office of Migrant Education (OME)
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-6135
(202) 260-1164 Phone
(202) 205-0089 Fax

East Coast Migrant Head Start Project
4245 North Fairfax Drive, 8th Floor
Arlington, VA 22203
703-243-7522 Phone
703-243-1259 Fax

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Ariel Rios Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460
(202) 272-0167 Phone

U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20210
1-866-4-USA-DOL Phone

Housing Assistance Council
1025 Vermont Avenue, NW, Suite 606
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 842-8600 Phone
(202) 347-3441 Fax

Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP)
1726 M Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 828-6006 Phone
(202) 828-6005 Fax