Extreme Weather Events: Perspectives & Safety Impacts in Agriculture

Farmworker harvests spinach under a cloudy sky
Photo credit: Hector Amezcua, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UC Davis

Over the past decade, California has become more prone to weather extremes, including increased frequency and severity of heat waves, droughts, and wildfires.

How have these weather extremes affected the work, health, and safety of agricultural employers and farmworkers? How are they preparing for the future?

In the summer of 2018, researchers at the Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety at UC Davis discussed these questions with growers, farm labor contractors, and farmworkers. Researchers conducted 16 interviews with agricultural employers and nine focus groups with over 70 farmworkers in Monterey, Fresno, Riverside, and Imperial counties in California.

Feedback about weather events such as heat, rain, drought and dust, and wildfires indicate that agricultural employers and farmworkers are aware of increasingly extreme weather, but do not feel sufficiently prepared for it. They experience extreme weather events differently and express different concerns.

A major theme that emerged from the focus groups and interviews was differing opinions about health and safety risks, what steps are being taken to reduce risk, and who is responsible for ensuring a safe work environment.

Read more about these study findings, including quotes from employers, contractors, and farmworkers in our community report.

Extreme Weather Events report cover

 

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