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Jan. 27, 2021 by Katie Tracy, Katlyn Schmitt

Maryland Weighs Legislation to Protect Food and Farm Workers Amid Pandemic

The Maryland General Assembly is kicking into full gear — and we at the Center for Progressive Reform are tracking bills that would protect the health and safety of Maryland workers in the food and farm sectors. These protections are urgently needed to protect these workers from COVID-19 infections and keep the public healthy and safe. The bills we're watching would:

  • Protect workers from disease

    Our nation's workers are going the extra mile to help us survive the pandemic. But Maryland isn't providing workers across the state with the protections they need to stay safe and healthy. Maryland lawmakers are considering legislation that would take a step in that direction. Del. Kriselda Valderrama (D) has introduced a bill (House Bill 124) that would require the state to adopt a temporary emergency standard to protect workers, including food and farm workers, from COVID-19. The bill would also require Maryland's Occupational Safety and Health division to adopt within six months a permanent standard to protect workers from airborne diseases.

    The bill includes a provision that would require Maryland companies to implement physical distancing and sanitation standards, properly ventilate facilities, provide workers with masks, gloves, and other equipment, and take other …

June 18, 2020 by Darya Minovi
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A blog post published last month by the Chesapeake Bay Program, a collaborative partnership focused on Bay restoration, addressed the many ways that the climate crisis will affect farms in the region. Data from the program shows temperatures on Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore, home to a high concentration of industrial poultry farms, increased between 2 to 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit, on average, between 1901 and 2017. By 2080, temperatures in the Chesapeake Bay watershed are projected to increase by 4.5 to 10 degrees, posing a serious risk of heat stress to farmworkers and livestock.

As the post discusses, rising temperatures can hurt farms in several ways. Warmer temperatures make for a longer growing season, which may temporarily promote higher crop yields but can also stress water resources and result in additional fertilizer application, which is not what the doctor ordered for the Bay’s nutrient …

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More on CPR's Work & Scholars.
Jan. 27, 2021

Maryland Weighs Legislation to Protect Food and Farm Workers Amid Pandemic

June 18, 2020

The Climate Crisis and Heat Stress: Maryland Farms Must Adapt to Rising Temperatures