Spanish-speaking dairy workers in New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont: results from a survey of farm owners

J Agromedicine. 2006;11(2):37-44. doi: 10.1300/J096v11n02_07.


A New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH) study surveyed 294 dairy farms in New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. The study utilized a quarterly telephone survey to assess the proportion of Spanish-speaking workers on these farms, and also to contrast the hazard level of work tasks and prevalence of lost work time between Spanish- and English-speaking workers. The total workforce followed in the study was comprised of 14.4 percent Spanish-speaking workers, with larger farms having a higher proportion than smaller farms (19.9% versus 4.6%, respectively). Of the 294 farms, 22.5 percent had at least one Spanish-speaking worker, which differed, greatly between larger and smaller farms (51.5% versus 7.3%). Spanish workers were significantly younger, worked significantly longer hours and had significantly fewer years of employment than their English-speaking counterparts. Work hour differences were more pronounced on the larger farms. Lost work time, due to on-farm injuries, did not differ between the Hispanic workers and the non-Hispanic workers. After correcting for both age and length of farm employment, Spanish-speaking workers were far less likely to perform managerial functions than their English-speaking counterparts (OR = . 22 p < .01).

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Career Mobility
  • Dairying*
  • Hispanic or Latino* / psychology
  • Hispanic or Latino* / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Language*
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Vermont
  • Workforce
  • Workload