Documenting COVID-19

The Migrant Farm Project

The Migrant Farm Project aims to track and compile data on COVID-19 outbreaks among agricultural workers in the U.S. and the responses by state and local governments. Internal emails, case reports and complaint data have been obtained as a result of more than 150 records requests to county and state health and agricultural departments.

The records highlight how thousands of COVID-19 cases in the agricultural industry have gone unreported, with significant testing delays and confusion over housing and quarantine protocols. They provide insight into how overburdened county health departments have been trying to mitigate the spread of the virus as well as the resistance of some fruit and produce growers to enact safety measures.

The Migrant Farm Project is led by Georgia Gee, a New York-based investigative journalist who graduated from Columbia Journalism School's Stabile program in 2020. You can reach her at gmg2172@columbia.edu. If you have information or expertise that would helpful to this project or would like to collaborate with us, you can email us at info@documentingcovid19.io.

The Brown Institute

Record Set(s)

Whitman County Health Department COVID-19 emails and response

Date Updated: October 27, 2020

Date Added: October 27, 2020

Whitman, WA

Principal Subject: Whitman County Health Department Director Troy Henderson

These documents include emails sent from, to or copied to Whitman County Health Department Director Troy Henderson regarding local response to COVID-19.

Date Range: July 1 to October 15, 2020

Format Details: .pst including attachments (278.8MB)

Imperial County Health Department COVID-19 emails and migrant farm response

Date Updated: October 19, 2020

Date Added: October 19, 2020

Imperial, CA

Principal Subject: Imperial County Health Department Director Janette Angulo

These documents include emails sent from, to or copied to Imperial County Health Department Director Janette Angulo regarding local response to COVID-19 and migrant farm concerns.

Date Range: June 1 to September 1, 2020

Format Details: .pdf (6.6MB, 154 pages)

Southwest District Health COVID-19 emails and migrant farm response

Date Updated: October 12, 2020

Date Added: October 12, 2020

Southwest District, ID

Principal Subject: Director of Southwest District Health Nikole Zogg

These documents include emails sent from, to or copied to Director of Southwest District Health Nikole Zogg regarding local response to COVID-19 and migrant farm concerns.

Date Range: May 20 to June 5, 2020

Format Details: .pdf (87.9MB, 316 pages)

Marion County Health Department COVID-19 emails and migrant farm response

Date Updated: October 1, 2020

Date Added: October 1, 2020

Principal Subject: Marion County Public Health Director Katrina Rothenberger

These documents include emails sent from, to or copied to Marion County Public Health Director Katrina Rothenberger regarding local response to COVID-19, including migrant farm outbreaks.

Date Range: May 1 to July 28, 2020

Format Details: .pdf (8.8MB, 563 pages)

Champaign-Urbana Health District COVID-19 emails and migrant farm response

Date Updated: September 30, 2020

Date Added: August 13, 2020

Champaign, IL

Principal Subject: Champaign-Urbana Health District Public Administrator Julie Pryde

These documents include emails sent from, to or copied to Champaign-Urbana Health District Public Administrator Julie Pryde regarding local response to COVID-19, including migrant farm outbreaks.

Date Range: June 1 to

Format Details: .eml (34.3MB)

Alachua County COVID-19 emails and migrant farm response

Date Updated: September 25, 2020

Date Added: August 11, 2020

Alachua, FL

Principal Subject: Alachua County Manager Michele Lieberman

These documents include emails sent from, to or copied to Alachua County Manager Michele Lieberman regarding local response to COVID-19, including migrant farm outbreaks.

Date Range: April 25 to June 20, 2020

Format Details: .pst including attachments (377MB)

Robeson County Health Department COVID-19 and Smithfield emails and response

Date Updated: September 2, 2020

Date Added: July 20, 2020

Robeson County, NC

Principal Subject: Robeson County Health Department Director Wiliam J. Smith

These documents include emails sent from, to or copied to Director Wiliam J. Smith regarding local response to COVID-19 and the Smithfield facility.

Date Range: April 1 to June 12, 2020

Format Details: .pdf with copied attachments (10 pages, 5.1 MB)

Macon County COVID-19 emails and migrant farm response

Date Updated: September 2, 2020

Date Added: July 29, 2020

Macon, NC

Principal Subject: Macon County Health Director Kathy McGaha

These documents include emails sent from, to or copied to Macon County Health Director Kathy McGaha regarding local response to COVID-19, including migrant farm outbreaks.

Date Range: May 5 to July 22, 2020

Format Details: .pst (200.3MB including attachments)

Alamosa County COVID-19 emails and farm response

Date Updated: September 2, 2020

Date Added: July 29, 2020

Alamosa, CO

Principal Subject: Alamosa County Health Director Della Cox-Vieira

These documents include emails sent from, to or copied to Alamosa County Health Director Della Cox-Vieira regarding local response to COVID-19, including migrant farm outbreaks.

Date Range: May 27 to June 25, 2020

Format Details: .pdf (2.7MB, 64 pages)

Kern County Health Department COVID-19 emails and response

Date Updated: September 2, 2020

Date Added: August 17, 2020

Kern, CA

Principal Subject: Kern County Director of Public Health Services Matthew Constantine

These documents include emails sent from, to or copied to Kern County Director of Public Health Services Matthew Constantine regarding local response to COVID-19, including migrant farm outbreaks.

Date Range: March 31 to June 25, 2020

Format Details: .pdf (306.6MB, 3650 pages)

Lee County Health Department COVID-19 migrant farms emails and response

Date Updated: September 1, 2020

Date Added: July 10, 2020

Lee County, NC

Principal Subject: Lee County Health Director William Heath Cain, Communicable Disease Nurse Jessica Williams and Environmental Supervisor Anthony Williams

These documents include emails sent from, to or copied to Lee County Health Director William Heath Cain, Communicable Disease Nurse Jessica Williams and Environmental Supervisor Anthony Williams regarding local response to COVID-19 migrant farm outbreaks.

Date Range: April 24 to May 25, 2020

Format Details: .pdf (3.8 MB)

Wake County Health Department COVID-19 emails and migrant farm response

Date Updated: August 24, 2020

Date Added: August 24, 2020

Wake, NC

Principal Subject: Wake County Public Health Director Christopher Kippes

These documents include emails sent from, to or copied to Wake County Public Health Department Director Christopher Kippes regarding local response to COVID-19, including migrant farm outbreaks.

Date Range: April 15 to June 9, 2020

Format Details: .zip including pst & pdf (70.3MB)

Wood County Health Department COVID-19 emails and response

Date Updated: August 19, 2020

Date Added: August 19, 2020

Wood, OH

Principal Subject: Wood County Health Commissioner Ben Batey

These documents include emails sent from, to or copied to Wood County Health Commissioner Ben Batey regarding local response to COVID-19.

Date Range: June 1 to August 4, 2020

Format Details: .pdf (20.2MB, 1060 pages)

Duplin County Health Department COVID-19 emails and response

Date Updated: July 21, 2020

Date Added: July 21, 2020

Duplin County, NC

Highlighted Documents: List of North Carolina meat processing plants with outbreaks as of May 1

Principal Subject: Duplin County Health Director Tracey Simmons-Kornegay

These documents include emails sent from, to or copied to Health Director Tracey Simmons-Kornegay regarding local response to COVID-19.

Date Range: March 31 to May 18, 2020

Format Details: .pdf (230 pages)

South Health District COVID-19 emails and response

Date Updated: July 17, 2020

Date Added: July 17, 2020

Ben Hill, Berrien, Brooks, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, Tift and Turner counties, GA

Principal Subject: Health Director William Grow

These documents include emails sent from, to or copied to Health Director William Grow regarding local response to COVID-19.

Date Range: June 1 to July 6, 2020

Format Details: .pdf without attachments (428 pages, 8.5 MB)

San Luis Obispo Agriculture Commission COVID-19 farm emails and response

Date Updated: July 13, 2020

Date Added: July 13, 2020

San Luis Obispo, CA

Highlighted Documents: Discussion of PPE distribution and shortages across counties

Principal Subject: San Luis Obispo Agricultural Commissioner Martin Settevendemie and Deputy Commissioner Marc Lea

These documents include emails sent from, to or copied to San Luis Obispo Agricultural Commissioner Martin Settevendemie and Deputy Commissioner Marc Lea regarding local response to COVID-19.

Date Range: May 1 to June 30, 2020

Format Details: .pdf with copied attachments (361 MB, 2,651 pages, duplicative material)

Stearns County Public Health COVID-19 emails and response

Date Updated: July 12, 2020

Date Added: July 12, 2020

Stearns County, MN

Principal Subject: Renee Frauendienst, Stearns County Public Health Division Director

These documents include emails sent from, to or copied to Renee Frauendienst, Stearns County Public Health Division Director, regarding local response to COVID-19.

Date Range: April 15 to May 26, 2020

Format Details: .pdf portfolio with embedded attachments, including .xlsx, .doc and .ppt (267.7 MB, not viewable online and requires a full download)

Palm Beach County Commission COVID-19 emails and migrant farm response

Date Updated: July 12, 2020

Date Added: July 10, 2020

Palm Beach County, FL

Principal Subject: Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay

These documents include emails sent from, to or copied to Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay regarding local response to COVID-19, including migrant farm outbreaks.

Date Range: April 15 to June 24, 2020

Palm Beach County government COVID-19 emails and migrant farm response

Date Updated: July 12, 2020

Date Added: July 10, 2020

Florida, FL

Principal Subject: Palm Beach County Administrator Verdenia Baker

These documents include emails sent from, to or copied to Palm Beach County Administrator Verdenia Baker regarding local information and response to Covid-19, including migrant farm outbreaks.

Date Range: April 26 to June 22, 2020

Format Details: .zip including attachments (240 MB)

Lake Worth Beach COVID-19 emails and response

Date Updated: July 12, 2020

Date Added: July 9, 2020

Lake Worth Beach, FL

Principal Subject: Lake Beach Mayor Pam Triolo & City Manager Michael Bornstein

These documents include emails sent from, to or copied to Lake Beach Mayor Pam Triolo and/or City Manager Michael Bornstein regarding local response to COVID-19, including migrant farm outbreaks.

Date Range: May 1 to June 30, 2020

Format Details: .zip with attachments (117.8 MB)

Related News Articles

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By Sky Chadde and Christine Herman

How NC Chose Cooperation Over Disclosure On Meatpacking Plants With Virus Outbreaks

How NC Chose Cooperation Over Disclosure On Meatpacking Plants With Virus Outbreaks

August 11, 2020
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By Ames Alexander of the Charlotte Observer; Aaron Sánchez-Guerra, Jordan Schrader and Lucille Sherman of The News & Observer; Nick Ochsner of WBTV; Emily Featherston of WECT; Tyler Dukes of WRAL; Jason deBruyn of WUNC; and Frank Taylor of Carolina Public Press

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