A new study conducted by Gallup and Healthways suggests that farmers, foresters and those in the commercial fishing industry take the second-smallest number of sick days in the nation.

The three professions are ranked second, behind physicians, with an average of three days a year.

Kitty Hockman-Nicholas, a Frederick County dairy and produce farmer, said “I’d have to be like ‘I can’t raise my head up’ sick” to take a day off.

That sentiment was echoed by CJ Isbell, a Hanover County beef, poultry, pork, feed grain and hay producer. “I would have to not be able to get out of bed to take a sick day. It’s been three years since I’ve taken a sick day, and that was after I had surgery,” Isbell said.

 “As a matter of fact, right now I have strep, and I’m still working out here on the farm.”

The study suggested the constant needs of livestock and crops are a major reason farmers take few days off. Isbell and Hockman-Nicholas agreed.

 “Either way, animals need to be fed,” Isbell said.

Professions found to take more sick days include service workers, office workers, nurses and business owners.