Updated: Jan 5, 2022
Colorado State University (CSU) Extension’s recent presentation of preliminary findings from the 2020 Colorado Agricultural Labor Survey for Employers raises concerns about the role that CSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Extension Division continues to play in the Colorado agricultural industry. Specifically, we are concerned that the research being produced and published is intended to and has the effect of maintaining long standing power imbalances in the agricultural sector in favor of industry profits over sustainability, resilience, and ethics. While there is broader cause for concern, this public letter specifically critiques a recent report referred to as the “2020 Colorado Agricultural Labor Survey,” challenges the data presented, and reveals the harms that flow from the dissemination of this research. The timing of the dissemination of the survey results raises serious concern as Senate Bill SB21-087 is being debated in the Colorado Legislature, which seeks to create protections for agriculture workers in Colorado. This letter offers reasons to be cautious of using these results for such policy decisions based on the obscurity of the methodology and imprecise data presented.
When researchers affiliated with CSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Extension Division conduct themselves as described herein, they actively maintain the imbalance of data in favor of business owners at the expense of worker experiences.