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David Sparks Ph.d Dairy Danger
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: June 29, 2018

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The Journal of Agromedicine has said that the dairy industry is dynamic, depending largely on immigrant employees working long hours at a high pace, under difficult environmental and social conditions. Dairy farming is among the most hazardous occupations, with high rates of injury, illness and employee turnover. Several high-profile fatalities prompted the Wisconsin office of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to begin inspecting Wisconsin dairy farms in 2012.

Now retired, Scott Heiberger, was a communications specialist with the National Farm Medicine Center. I sent him an email and questioned him about the workforce associated with the dairy industry. He Emailed this response “As much as 80 percent of the United States dairy workforce is Hispanic. The influx of these new employees, who are often immigrants with little experience in agriculture, raises new safety issues. For dairy farmers trained to manage cows, the operation of a modern dairy employing a large immigrant workforce is a daunting challenge.” The National Farm Medicine Center suggests that research is needed to develop and evaluate cost-effective solutions.

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