Health Care for Migratory and Seasonal Agricultural Workers

Program Background

Sources estimate that there are between 4 and 4.5 million agricultural workers in the United States. In 2020, health centers provided care to more than 977,000 migratory and seasonal agricultural workers (MSAW) and their families around the United States.

The federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), through the Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC), administers federal grant support to 1,400 community health centers through 13,000 clinic sites in all 50 states and territories. A portion of those centers and sites specialize in meeting the unique health care needs of the MSAW population.

Resources on Migratory and Seasonal Agricultural Workers

Bureau of Primary Health Care – Uniform Data System (UDS)

The UDS is a standardized, publicly-reported data set that provides consistent information to the federal government about health centers. It is a core set of information, including patient demographics, services provided, clinical outcomes, patient’s use of services, and costs appropriate for documenting the operation and performance of health centers. Much of these data and related analyses, are annually reported to the public through the Bureau of Primary Health Care’s Health Center Data & Reporting site.

National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducts a nationwide survey that obtains information directly from agricultural workers. The NAWS provides an economic and demographic portrait of crop workers and workers engaged in support activities for crop production at their workplaces and is by far the most cited national data source on agricultural worker population and labor related statistics. Learn more about the NAWS survey.

Resources for Health Centers Caring for the MSAW Population

NACHC supports health centers caring for the MSAW population at both the program and policy levels. Specifically, NACHC has a Committee on Agricultural Worker Health, which is composed of NACHC members who represent health centers and primary care associations that serve the MSAW population. The Committee advises NACHC’s Board of Directors and staff on issues related to providing care to this population. The Committee serves as a forum to strengthen collaboration among NACHC membership and other organizations that serve people in the MSAW population.

Additional support is provided by National Training and Technical Assistance Partners (NTTAPs).

Farmworker Health Network

There are five National Training and Technical Assistance Partners (NTTAPs) funded by HRSA and, collectively they form the Farmworker Health Network (FHN). The FHN meets regularly to collaborate on the provision of training and technical assistance, assessment of needs, the analysis of trends and challenges and the generation of health care solutions through recommendations to HRSA’s Bureau of Primary Health Care.

The FHN consists of the following:

  • National Center for Farmworker Health, Inc.
    Phone (512) 312-2700
    The National Center for Farmworker Health (NCFH) is a private non-profit corporation, established in 1975, located in Buda, Texas. NCFH provides information services, technical assistance, and training to more than 500 private and federally funded migrant health centers as well as other organizations and individuals serving the farmworker population.
  • Migrant Clinicians Network
    Phone (512) 327-2017
    Migrant Clinicians Network is a nonprofit organization that creates practical solutions at the intersection of poverty, migration and health. MCN provides bridge case management, support, technical assistance and professional development to clinicians in Federally Qualified Health Centers and other health care delivery sites with the ultimate purpose of providing quality health care that increases access and reduces disparities for migrant farmworkers and other mobile underserved populations.
  • Farmworker Justice
    Phone (202) 293-5420
    Farmworker Justice is a nonprofit organization that seeks to empower migrant and seasonal farmworkers to improve their living and working conditions, immigration status, health, occupational safety, and access to justice. Farmworker Justice works with farmworkers and their organizations throughout the nation.
  • Health Outreach Partners
    Phone (510) 268-0091
    Health Outreach Partners’ mission is to build strong, effective, and sustainable grassroots health models by partnering with local community-based organizations across the country in order to improve the quality of life of low-income, vulnerable, and underserved populations.
  • MHP Salud
    Phone 956-968-3600
    MHP Salud builds on community strengths to improve health in underserved communities. MHP Salud 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.

National and Regional Training Events in Migrant Health

There are several specific venues and opportunities related to the health and well-being of agricultural workers. The conferences and trainings listed below are tailored to meet the needs of individuals involved in serving the agricultural worker population.

NACHC sponsors an annual National Conference for Agricultural Worker Health, the only conference dedicated solely to the health and well-being of America’s migratory and seasonal workers. The National Conferences tailors its training to migrant health leaders, senior executives, Consumer Board Members, academics, researchers and its emphasis is on national trends in migrant health, federal policy and current trends.

Migrant Stream Forums:

There are three regional training opportunities for staff working with the population who often do not have the opportunity to attend the national conference. The three Migrant Stream Forums are:

  • West Coast Migrant Stream Forum is organized by the Northwest Regional Primary Care Association and is held along the west coast region every February;
  • Midwest Migrant Stream Forum is organized by the National Center for Farmworker Health and is held every November in the Midwest or Southwest region of the country; and
  • East Coast Migrant Stream Forum is organized by the North Carolina Community Health Center Association and held along the east coast region of the country every October.

The Stream Forums are tailored to line-staff working in migrant health centers or serving the MSAW population. They include, but are not limited to community outreach workers, community health workers and promotoras(es) de salud, migrant health program directors, consumer board members and senior administrators.

We Care About America's Agricultural Workers

Ag Workers Access Campaign

The Ag Worker Access Campaign is a national initiative to increase the number of migratory and seasonal agricultural workers (MSAWs) and their families served in Community and Migrant Heath Centers (C/MHCs) across the U.S.

C/MHCs serve approximately 22% (977,744*) of the estimated 4.5 million Ag Workers and their families currently living in the U.S. Our goal is to increase the number of Agricultural workers and their families served in Health Centers to at least 2 million.

Launched in 2015 under the direction of NACHC’s’ Committee for Ag Worker Health and managed jointly by NACHC and the National Center for Farmworker Health (NCFH), the Campaign has built nationwide momentum, resulting in an 85,688 increase in the number of MSAW patients served since its inception. The Campaign is guided by a 23-member national Task Force representing health centers, primary care associations, health-center controlled networks, National Training and Technical Assistance Partners, and other organizations representing education, housing, and labor. Task Force priority areas include:

  • Ensuring C/MHC staff receive the training and technical assistance they need to effectively outreach to the Ag Worker population, and accurately classify and report them in UDS
  • Understanding and addressing MSAW’s unique needs and the barriers they face related to accessing health care
  • Identifying and disseminating promising practices for increasing access to care for MSAWs
  • Supporting local/regional/state coalitions between C/MHCs and other Ag worker-serving entities

We invite you to show your support and commitment to the migratory and seasonal agricultural worker population by joining the Campaign initiative today!