Worldwide, farmers and agricultural populations consistently show distinctive patterns of health and disease that have been associated with protective environmental factors, lifestyle habits and occupational hazardous exposures. Working in environments rich in microorganisms, physically active work routines and low prevalence of smoking partially explain a reduced incidence of certain diseases (i.e. lung and colorectal cancer). In contrast, for example, regular exposure to ultraviolet rays, dust and toxic chemicals are in part responsible for increased risks of specific cancers, respiratory diseases and unfavourable neurologic outcomes (e.g. skin cancer, non-allergic asthma and cognitive decline).

AGRICOH is a consortium of agricultural cohort studies initiated by the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) and by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in October 2010. As of January 2016, 30 cohorts from 5 continents are participating in AGRICOH. The studies are from Australia (2), Canada (3), Chile (1), Costa Rica (2), Denmark (1), France (5), New Zealand (2), Norway (3), Republic of Korea (1), South Africa (2), the UK (1), and the USA (7). All cohorts study health outcomes in relation to environmental and occupational exposures in agricultural settings with the exception of three general population cohorts involving large numbers of agricultural populations or oversampling individuals in agricultural areas.

The consortium is interested in identifying environmental and occupational exposures in agricultural settings associated with excess risk of chronic illnesses, including cancer, respiratory, neurologic and auto-immune diseases, reproductive and allergic disorders as well as in factors associated with a decreased morbidity risk.

A wide range of agricultural exposures is documented in these cohorts, the majority using questionnaire instruments to gather data on exposure. Seventeen cohorts have access to biological specimens in the whole cohort or in a sub-sample of participants.

AGRICOH is an open consortium inviting additional existing agricultural cohorts with special interest in the adhesion of cohorts from low- and middle-income countries.