Although children are overrepresented in farm injury, little is known about the environmental hazards and risk behaviours associated with injury, or about how to identify these factors at a local level. This study addresses the measurement of these hazards and hazardous behaviours. The study was conducted in 1990 at Gloucester, New South Wales, a small dairy, beef and hobby farm community. After some formative research and local consultation, a checklist survey was constructed and sent to 120 farm families with school-age children. Families were sent the checklist forms again two weeks later to assess test-retest reliability, which was found to be acceptable among the 38 per cent who responded on both occasions. The findings on the prevalence of environmental hazards and risk behaviours from the 84 per cent of respondents were useful to refine the existing injury information available from local hospital morbidity figures, which had identified injuries related to riding (horses, bicycles and motorcycles) and to machinery and drowning as major rural injury issues. In particular the importance of bicycle riding and horse-related injury were confirmed. The survey importantly identified some previously undetected issues, most notably the danger to children's hearing. The prevalence data were used to identify targets for the development of local health promotion initiatives, leading the local farm safety action group to select horses, helmets and hearing as issues for preventive action. Findings from the method indicated the importance of local information, involving farmers in constructing the checklist, and feeding back results to the community.