Rapid Response to COVID-19 in Agriculture: A Model for Future Crises

Heather E. Riden, Kara Schilli, Kent E. Pinkerton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: The Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety (WCAHS) at the University of California, Davis implemented a multifaceted rapid response to COVID-19 in the western United States. This paper describes the center’s response from mid-March through June 30, 2020. Methods: A comprehensive needs assessment was conducted with agricultural stakeholders. Agriculture-specific COVID-19 resources were developed and disseminated, and a farmer/employer survey was launched. Results: The WCAHS COVID-19 resources web page, worksite checklist, and training guide were shared on over 50 web pages nationally. As of June 30, 2020, 282 online surveys have been received. Ongoing informal discussions with agricultural stakeholders indicate a disconnect between the experiences of farmers/employers and farmworkers in relation to COVID-19 prevention at the worksite. Initial survey responses indicate that implementing social distancing is one of the greatest challenges at the worksite. Confusion over local, state, and federal guidelines and which to follow is another concern. Conclusion: The WCAHS response to COVID-19, in close collaboration with agricultural stakeholders, represents a useful model for a rapid response to a public health crisis by regional centers. Key elements to its success include rapid personalized communication with a wide range of agricultural stakeholders, an actively engaged External Advisory Board, the development of industry-specific resources and information, recurring and iterative engagement with stakeholders as new COVID-19 information emerged and resources were developed, and the identification of the unique gap WCAHS was positioned to fill. The multipronged dissemination approach enhanced the reach of WCAHS COVID-19 resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Agromedicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • agriculture
  • COVID-19
  • farm safety
  • public health
  • safety communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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