Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Letter: Farmers, legislators looking out for farmworker safety

| August 4, 2020 12:16 AM

Farmworkers are vital to our food supply. They are also vital to the farmers who employ them. Every farmer I know who hires farmworkers cares deeply about their health and safety. There has been a shortage of farm workers in Washington state for several years. That means farmers do everything they can to keep their workers happy and healthy so they will be able to continue working and will want to return the next year.

Both state and federal government agencies regulate farm working conditions and farmworker safety. Farmworker housing is regularly inspected by government regulators. New rules were enacted to protect farmworkers from COVID-19.

Those who understand agriculture understand how important it is to take care of farmworkers. All of the people who live in the Columbia Basin should feel thankful to have strong, experienced legislators looking out for them. Rep. Tom Dent is known for working in a bipartisan manner, not only on agricultural issues, but also on early childhood education, children’s mental health, wildfire prevention and more. His experience puts him in the best position to ensure that programs that benefit farmworkers and their families continue to get adequate funding.

COVID-19 has created new challenges for everyone. There is still a long road ahead. Proven leaders can do much more to help than those who throw stones.

Heather Hansen

Executive director, Washington Friends of Farms and Forests