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The aim of this study was to document California, Idaho, South Dakota, and Washington dairy producers' perspectives on the health and business implications of COVID-19 during the pandemic second wave. Dairy producers were reached by a 14-question anonymous mail survey during June and July of 2020. We obtained 226 responses (response rate: 9.3% CA, 8.6% ID, 31.4%, and 10.0% WA). Responses were grouped by state (CA: 48.7%, ID: 15.9%, SD: 21.7%, or WA: 13.7%) and dairy size [based on number of cows; small (<100): 14.1%, medium (100–499): 27.7%, medium-large (500–1,999): 33.2%, or large (≥2,000): 25.0%]. Survey responses were summarized, and multiple correspondence analysis was used to map responses and identify data clusters. At the time of the survey, some respondents suspected (3%) or had confirmed (9%) COVID-19 cases on their premises. Respondents were somewhat or very concerned about the health (75%) and business (92%) implications associated with COVID-19. Producers were concerned about the health of their families, employees, and employees' families; having to reduce production; workforce shortage; limited goods availability; and lack of services. Producers perceived that their employees were somewhat or very concerned (74%) with the pandemic. There was COVID-19 safety information or training provided (78%) or intended (4%) in English (22%), Spanish (23%), or both (55%). The focus of training was as follows: how to remain healthy at work (91%) and at home (60%), what to do if a worker gets sick (77%), and sick leave information (54%). Nevertheless, 18% of the respondents answered that training was not going to be provided. The following control measures implemented: providing hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes (78%), instruction on frequent hand-washing (76%), social distancing (59%), prevention of employee gatherings (54%), providing and requiring the use of face masks (49%), and limiting on-farm visitors (44%). Multiple correspondence analysis showed that concern with health risk and business impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as mitigation and response strategies implemented, varied based on respondent's dairy size and state. The greatest concerns were reported by producers from California and large and medium-large dairies, whereas the fewest concerns were reported by producers from small dairies. Results from this survey highlighted the health and business concerns of dairy producers from California, Idaho, South Dakota, and Washington during the COVID-19 pandemic and the mitigation efforts adopted. In conclusion, mitigation measures were adopted by most dairy producers but in various degrees. Dairy industry service providers and educators were secondary educational resources during the pandemic; thus, future efforts toward centralized access to dairy specific bilingual educational materials are suggested.

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Journal of Dairy Science





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