Results of Statewide Farmworker Survey Are Now Available

Portland, Oregon — The Oregon COVID-19 Farmworker Study Team (a consortium of 11 farmworker-serving organizations and academics from Portland State University, University of Oregon, and Oregon State University) announces the survey findings from 300 farmworkers living across the state of Oregon. Final results from a survey of 300 Oregonian farmworkers document just how pervasive and deleterious the COVID-19 global pandemic continues to be on farmworkers and their families (in Oregon, the United States, and abroad). This study provides the first state-wide picture of the impact of COVID-19 on the work, home lives, and transnational connections of Oregon farmworkers. Results from this unique study—the only cross-state survey to gather data directly from farmworkers working through COVID-19—are now publicly available.

On June 26, Oregon’s unprecedented heatwave claimed the life of Indigenous Chuj farmworker Sebastián Francisco Pérez from Guatemala, adding to the list of extreme weather events that place farmworkers deemed “essential” on the climate crisis’s frontlines. The COVID-19 global pandemic, exacerbated by unprecedented wildfires, excessive heat, and other extreme weather events in Oregon, demonstrates that farmworkers continue working in worsening and already hazardous conditions to put food on our tables. These events highlight the importance of strengthening farmworker protections in and out of the workplace. This moment requires cross-governmental and community-based support for recovery, equitable vaccine distribution, information and programs accessible in Indigenous languages spoken in the state (not just Spanish), and increased enforcement of farmworker safety standards and labor rights.

The state’s farmworker population as a group, a majority of whom are Latino/a/x or Indigenous peoples from Mexico and Guatemala, experienced disproportionately higher rates of COVID-19 infections than people from other ethnic backgrounds and labor sectors. Many face economic, social, physical, and mental health challenges without adequate safety nets and protections. The impacts have not been equal across gender, Indigeneity, and language. Despite barriers, farmworkers continue to remain connected to their homelands. They used mutual aid, family, and community networks to maneuver through the pandemic. However, recovering from the pandemic requires immediate and deliberate attention to farmworkers’ safety and well-being at work and home. 

Read the full report here.