The injury occurred on the job. A bull mounted a cow, and the worker was pinned against the stall. That led to a bloody and severe shoulder injury, surgery, and an inability to work.
“I went almost one month without work, and then after that, they called me back, but I was in no condition to work,” says this worker. He’s asked us not to use his name because it could jeopardize his ability to find future work in the small, New Mexico town of Portales. “I would bleed at work, and that’s how they had me working at the dairy.”
You wake up at three in the morning. In El Paso. You board a bus, and spend the rest of your day herding livestock, picking chilies, or milking cows. Then, at the end of the day, you’re handed cash for your work, but it may not be enough.
“So if we work eight, nine, ten hours, they put down that we work less,” says an Agricultural worker who goes through this process on a regular basis. He’s asked not to use his real name for fear of retaliation. “For example, they don’t pay us for more than eight hours, so if you only get $40, they say that’s what you worked, eight hours.”
New Mexico's agricultural workers face low pay, dangerous conditions, and have few laws to protect them from abuse. Those allegations are contained in a new report from the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty.
A dry winter, strong winds, and above average temperatures have caused the U.S. Department of Agriculture to declared much of the state to be in a drought emergency. Jeff Witte with the New Mexico Department of Agriculture says that farmers with the ability to pump groundwater will be able to plant some crops this year. However, Witte says he's optimistic that farmers and ranchers in New Mexico will be able to continue providing viable crops to the state