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May 2019


Farm Labor ConferenceCalifornia AgrAbility staff attended the Farm Labor 2019: Other Countries, California and Immigration Conference. This conference examined the labor-related issues in California and US agriculture. First, a panel with Mexico, Australia, and Canada presented on how they recruit and manage their foreign workers to fill farm jobs. Second, California's farm workforce was analyzed along with discussion of the National Agricultural Workers Survey. Lastly, professionals discussed the effects of the changing migration policies on agriculture and farm workers, and how disputes between federal and state government affect agricultural communities and agricultural production. This UC Davis conference was a fruitful and educational experience for all staff.

Picnic DayCalifornia AgrAbility staff joined Dr. Fathallah's ergonomics lab during the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Picnic Day display. Participants were able to measure their grip strength and learn about tools utilized to design ergonomic tools, such as tractor seats, to help farmers and farmworkers work safely. They also received information on the application of ergonomic tools and modified work environments through the AgrAbility program in California.

Staff attended Dr. Fadi Fathallah's class on farmworker health and musculoskeletal diseases. He educated future nurse practitioners from the University of California, San Francisco, on the different types of chronic illnesses common among the agricultural worker population due to repetitive motion such as pruning or stooping. Fathallah also introduced harvesting tools that are already out in industry along with new technology toward which researchers are advancing. He described examples of devices, such as an automatic pruner, that were able to bring workers back from disability. With these harvesting tools he hopes to reduce or eliminate the repetitive motion that can cause chronic injuries.

Migrant Center openingCalifornia AgrAbility attended the local Migrant Center Opening Day events at the Davis, Dixon, and Madison centers. Staff spoke to over 100 families that come to the Yolo County area to work in the agricultural fields and cannery primarily for the tomato planting, harvesting, and processing seasons. Many of the migrants come from Northern Mexico, Arizona, and Texas. At the Madison Migrant Center, California AgrAbility staff led an arthritis exercise class while the families waited for their leader of household to attend the orientation meeting.

Submitted by Sara Wat