Perspectives of dairy farm employees on the COVID-19 pandemic

Document Type


Publication Date



American Dairy Science Association


Journal of Dairy Science




Suppl. 1






COVID-19, dairy employees, training


Our objective was to understand dairy employees’ perceptions and educational needs at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. A bilingual (English and Spanish), anonymous survey targeted at dairy employees was circulated nationwide via university and allied industry media outlets. Responses (n = 63) from 11 states were received (May to Sep 2020). Respondents worked in herds ranging from 50 to 35,000 ani- mals in size. Dairy managers (33%) responded mostly to the English survey (52%), whereas dairy workers (67%) chose the Spanish format (76%). Overall, 83% of the respondents were somewhat concerned or very concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Spanish respondents (93%) showed greater concern than English respondents (62%). Respondents (51%) indicated that their main concern was “to bring the virus from work to home and make my family sick.” Most dairy workers (83%) perceived that their employers were somewhat or very concerned about the pandemic. Respondents (66%) indicated that COVID-19 informative training was provided at the workplace; but training was more frequent among dairy managers (90%) than dairy workers (51%). Most trainings (75%) were limited to posters on walls. The preferred means of information delivery was through videos (64%). A good understanding of COVID-19 symptoms was reported among 85% of dairy workers trained at work vs. 71% for those not trained. English respondents (50%) indicated that television was their preferred source of information on COVID-19 (50%), whereas Spanish respon- dents favored social media (63%). Hand sanitizer use (60%), limiting agglomeration in break rooms (63%), frequent handwashing (76%), and limiting on-farm visits (66%) were the most common safety measures implemented at the workplace. Few respondents (38%) indicated that face-covering was required at work. Successful emergency plans on dairies should consider the outreach needs and preferences of dairy workers. These survey results highlighted different perspectives, edu- cational needs, and preferred sources of information between English and Spanish speaking dairy workers.

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