MONTEREY COUNTY — Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office has established a dedicated hotline to report agricultural concerns related to farmworker safety as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, wildfire smoke and the safe use of pesticides.
The phone number, available for both English and Spanish speakers, is 831-809-2394.
“My hope is that farmworkers will feel confident to call our hotline number because we are responsive,” said Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner Henry Gonzales.
A trained staff member is on hand to take calls 24/7. The Agricultural Commissioner’s Office will act with regard to pesticide use, and other concerns outside its authority will be referred to the appropriate agency.
“We’ve already started to receive calls and made referrals to the health department,” Gonzales said during the county’s media briefing Friday.
He added that his office is “happy to have another way for farmworkers to directly communicate with us so we can help address their issues.”
The hotline was created through a collaboration between the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office, industry members and Monterey County Supervisor Luis Alejo.
“Monterey County is the first to set up this type of a hotline specifically for farmworkers during this pandemic,” Alejo said at the briefing. “… It’s another example of leadership out of Monterey County and to our county staff who are willing to do a little extra in the effort to protect lives and protect the wellbeing of farmworkers out in the fields, in the packing sheds and processing plants.”
Additional reporting by Sean Roney.