Dairy farms that had participated in previous and ongoing projects with the National Farm Medicine Center (NFMC), Migrant Clinicians Network (MCN), and Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH) were asked to participate in a 17-question survey by phone or email to investigate biosecurity principles on Minnesota and Wisconsin dairy farms in response to COVID-19 and the effects of the pandemic on the dairy industry. Three additional farms were recruited via a press release published in agricultural newsletters. Of 76 farms contacted, 37 chose to participate in this study from June to July 2020. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, dairies have implemented or increased biosecurity measures and COVID-19 precautions. Dairies reported adequate personal protective equipment for their workers, though face masks were not required on most dairies (n = 32, 86%). Producers were concerned about the safety of their families, maintaining a healthy workforce, and keeping their farms profitable. Access to healthcare was not perceived to be an issue for their workers. One-quarter of dairies reported COVID-19 infections on their farms. Even though the majority had an isolation protocol in place if someone on the farm were to become ill, less than half of respondents felt their farm was protected against COVID-19. Two-thirds of producers have not had to decrease production, and a majority of operations have not furloughed or terminated employees due to COVID-19. Our data suggest that dairy farms in Minnesota and Wisconsin have implemented biosecurity and safety measures in response to COVID-19. These measures can be improved. Farms would benefit from additional guidance and education on implementation of personal protective measures and disease prevention strategies to keep workers employed and safe.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, U54OH010170National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health [U54OH010170]; We would like to thank Carol Peterson and Monica Osnaya for their help with this project. We are grateful to the members of the agricultural press in Minnesota who published a press release to promote this study. We sincerely thank all the dairy producers who took the time to participate in this research.
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
- dairy producers
- immigrant workers
- safety protocols
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Multicenter Study
- Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.