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Merino and German black face ewes approach the photographer at the Educational and Reserach Station for Animal Breeding in Brandenburg state on January 27, 2012 in Gross Kreutz, Germany.

Today the Labor Department of Labor releases its annual list of the most-dangerous jobs in the U.S. In years past, commercial fishing has been at the top of it. This year, the top five most dangerous included fisherman, loggers, pilots, garbage men, roofers.

Of course, that list also gives us some insight into what the safest jobs are. There aren’t many serious hazards associated with potato farming, and with sheep and goat farming. Well, most of the time. 

“They’re always stepping on my toes,” Della Williams says.  She runs Sleepy Goat Farm, near Danville, Va. 

The government bases its list on the number of “fatal occupational injuries” in each profession.  In 2010, there were three deaths related to sheep and goat farming. Williams says the worst that’s happened to her is she’s been kicked and pushed into an electric fence. 

Dee Harley owns the Harley Farms Goat Dairy, in Pescadero, Calif.  According to her, “the job is not dangerous at all,” but, she adds, “if there’s a few that have horns, you need to be kind of careful.”

Other professions with relatively few fatal occupational injuries include commercial banking, landscape architecture, and cereal manufacturing. 

Sara Higgins owns Raspberry Field Farm Granola, which is based in Upstate New York.  She says the biggest danger in her line of work is temptation.

“We have a little bit of a snacking problem, because we do take breaks with yogurt and granola,” Higgins says, adding it can be hard if you are counting calories.

About the author

David Gura is a reporter for Marketplace, based in the Washington, D.C. bureau.

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