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It’s Not an Accident: Fatalities and Injuries on NYS Dairy Farms

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Food and Politics Speakers Series - Margaret Gray

Relying on interviews and primary data, this case study of the New York dairy industry examines the barriers to improving health and safety on dairy farms. While farm-level culture and protocols are most directly responsible for injuries and fatalities, several other factors create a lax climate for implementing health and safety measures. These include the consolidation of dairy farms, the ethnic succession to a Latino workforce, and federal and state level policy and implementation. Differences in state agricultural labor laws and the agricultural regulatory structure, as well as the implementation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act contribute to poor health and safety on dairy farms.

Margaret Gray is Associate Professor of Political Science at Adelphi University. Gray’s book Labor and the Locavore: The Making of a Comprehensive Food Ethic about New York farm workers and food politics was published by the University of California Press (2014). Gray won the Best Book Award from the Association for the Study of Food and Society and the Best Book Award from the Labor Project of the American Political Science Association.  Her work focuses on the intersection of food politics and the conditions of low-wage, non-citizen workers in the agro-food industry. She received her PhD is from the CUNY Graduate Center (2006). Gray also has a decade’s experience working for nonprofits on economic justice.