By Margaret Gray, Ph.D.
Milk is promoted as nature’s perfect food. More than any other food, milk taps into idyllic nostalgia for farm life and the marketing of dairy products takes advantage of milk’s prized position. Yet, dairy farming is dangerous and fatalities are too common, especially on New York’s smaller farms.
The statistics are telling. New York—ranked third in dairy production in the country—saw 61 fatalities on dairy farms from 2006 to 2014, according to the New York State Department of Health. The main causes of dairy death are tractor rollovers and entanglement in other farm machinery.
New York’s dairy farm fatalities outstrip those of California, the nation’s leader in dairy production. From 2007 to 2012, New York saw 34 dairy farm deaths, while California, which regularly produced more than three times as much milk as New York during that time, had 14 fatalities.
Overall from 2007 to 2012, New York’s fatality rate per 100,000 workers was 2.4, but it was 35.8 in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The next highest industry was construction, with 8.3.
Read Margaret Gray's full article on dairy farming.