Cancer mortality risks for Wisconsin white male farmers were examined during the years 1981 to 1990. Four malignancies were studied: Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, melanoma, colon cancer, and rectal cancer. Occupation coded deaths were segmented into farmer and nonfarmer groups and population counts for the groups were estimated from 1980 and 1990 Bureau of the Census data. Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) were constructed from the ratio of observed farmer deaths and the expected number of farmer deaths. Expected deaths were generated from the underlying statewide nonfarmer rate for the malignancy multiplied into the farmer population at risk. Farmers had significantly lower mortality risks for melanoma (SMR: 0.659; 95% CI: 0.993-0.326) and colon cancer (SMR: 0.763; 95% CI: 0.928-0.599). Farmers also exhibited a nonsignificant decrement for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (SMR: 0.930; 95% CI: 1.214-0.645). For rectal cancer, farmers experienced a slightly higher but essentially the same risk as nonfarmers (SMR: 1.013; 95% CI: 1.418-0.608)--the SMR was not significant. This study corroborates a number of cancer incidence and mortality investigations demonstrating that farmers generally experience the same or lower mortality risks for these malignancies.