North Carolina’s Migrant Housing Act requires growers to provide heating for workers as temperatures drop, but does not address the hot scorching summers we’ve had this past year. We never give kudos to the hard-working farmworkers who are definitely at risk for heat illnesses. Climate change is leading to warmer nighttime temperatures in North Carolina, making it more difficult for farmworkers to recover from hot days, especially when they don’t have to air-condition inside their living quarters. Between 2008 and 2017 there were more nights in North Carolina where the low temperature stayed above 75 than any other period on record, according to the N-C Climate Science Report.
It is common for North Carolina farmworkers to live in grower-provided housing, and it is common for that housing to lack air conditioning. so, this makes it hard to get a decent night’s sleep, cool off, or warm-up depending on weather conditions. it also opens a can of worms up to health risks for these agricultural workers. Think about when you come home and need to cool off or warm-up, same difference for these workers, they want that same luxury. One study from 2013 found fewer than half of farmworkers had fans or any kind of air conditioning in their housing units. Medical Director of the North Carolina Farmworker Health Program at the state Department of Health and Human Services Dr. Gayle Thomas says the issue is a serious health concern.