New Agriculture Safety Rules Pt 2

New Agriculture Safety Rules Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
I’m Bob Larson. Agriculture in Washington is under a new set of safety rules, brought down by Governor Inslee, above and beyond the changes most farmers had already instituted to protect their workers from the spread of coronavirus.

The big frustration, according to the Washington Farm Bureau’s Bre Elsey is we don’t really know why this is necessary …

ELSEY … “So, we’ve asked at least, if you’re going to the level to which we were already practicing safety, at least please give us some kind of scientific basis for where you’re getting these numbers. And, the only thing we can guess at this point is that these are arbitrary. You know, there had been no justification for how or why they chose the numbers they did.”

Let’s say even if farmers only cared about the bottom line, Elsey says the spread of the virus would be devastating …

ELSEY … “And you’re absolutely right, Bob, I mean there isn’t a farmer out there right now who’s going to act recklessly. There isn’t a farmer out there who could afford an outbreak on their farm and lose their entire years crop and their entire years wages. So, we already have farmers who are acting with an abundance of caution, that already have very high safety standards.”

So why, Elsey says when farmers really care …

ELSEY … “And, so that’s just another very frustrating part of this whole thing is, not only are farmers trying their hardest, but that they have these new mandates, but for seemingly no reason.”

The new rules took effect in orchards, dairies, fields, and fruit and vegetable packing houses on June 3rd.

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