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Dairy is Different: Latino Dairy Worker Stress in Vermont


Latino immigrant dairy workers face significant challenges. Dairy’s employment of immigrants is recent compared to other sectors, though today immigrants account for over half of US dairy workers. This study applies the Migrant Farmworker Stress Inventory to dairy for the first time. Interviews of 173 workers were conducted using the MFWSI, augmented with dairy specific indictors. Bivariate analysis identified associations between dairy worker characteristics and stress. Findings were compared to other studies using the MFWSI. Average stress was 74.6/156 points, with 36.5% at risk for clinically significant stress. Vermont ranked eighth among 11 MFWSI studies, and fourth of seven studies for significant stress. Primary stressors differed from studies of fruit and crop workers. Over a third of Vermont immigrant dairy workers risk debilitating stress. The MFWSI underestimates dairy farmworker stress and should be modified for this sector. Identified stressors indicate Spanish-language, dairy safety training may be beneficial.

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See Tables 4 and 5.

Table 4 Rankings of top ten stressors in vermont dairy worker study compared across selected studies
Table 5 Research utilizing the migrant farmworker stress inventory (mfwsi) and results for mean score and percent caseness for Stress

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Baker, D., Kades, J., Kolodinsky, J. et al. Dairy is Different: Latino Dairy Worker Stress in Vermont. J Immigrant Minority Health 23, 965–975 (2021).

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  • Dairy
  • Immigrant farmworker
  • Latino
  • Stress
  • Vermont