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The unendurable conditions farmworkers endured during the pandemic

Among the ranks of essential workers, there may be none more essential than the people who harvest food from farms. It is often done by hand in tough conditions, and those degraded further during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Workers already stressed by job and financial conditions got stressed further by disease, quarantining while sick, wildfire smoke, and more. The COVID-19 Farmworker Study interviewed workers in California, Oregon, and Washington--hundreds of workers--to get a picture of the issues they faced.

Portland State University doctoral candidate Jennifer Martinez and Professor Ron Mize of Oregon State University were participants in the study; they join us with details of the many concerns found. We get further perspective from Kathy Keesee, Program Coordinator at UNETE Center for Farmworker Advocacy, a partner in the process.

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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily talk show focused on news and interests across our region of Southern Oregon and Northern California. Angela Decker is the senior producer, Nash Bennett is the assistant producer, and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.