Safety & Work Culture

Dairy workers make dairy products possible. NDA farmers rely on themselves, their family, and their employees to care for their cows and produce high quality milk day in and day out.

The independently owned dairies across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, are all focused on making the farms safe and fulfilling places to work.

Dairy Workplace Safety

In an apples to apples comparison, dairy work has a strong safety record. Labor and Industries rates show that work on dairy farms compares favorably to other live animal agriculture.  The most conventional measure of this is the Washington State Department of L & I’s premium base rate:

A reflection of core values that prioritize people ahead of business, NDA member farms are deeply committed to the safety of their dairy employees.

Co-op members take pride in supporting their rural communities by providing year-round jobs, a safe and positive work environment and good wages. This gives many workers valuable careers and the opportunity for advancement.  With teamwork, members and their employees provide customers with safe, high-quality nutritious food.

NDA co-op members:

  • Provide and maintain a secure, safe workplace free from recognized health and safety hazards, thereby minimizing the risk of accidents and injury.
  • Promote a workplace atmosphere free from discrimination and from physical or verbal harassment.
  • Provide an open door process that allows employees to resolve disputes, grievances and issues without fear or retaliation.
  • Adhere to all employment age laws and federal free association and collective bargaining law.
  • Provide employees with the training tools that enable them to perform their jobs in a safe manner.

Supporting Good Labor Practices

NDA member-owners work with a team of dedicated employees to care for the land and animals, and ensure high standards of operation. Like any business, dairy farms benefit from and strive to have satisfied, committed employees.

Dairies provide year-round employment opportunities for farm workers, unlike many agricultural industries.

NDA works to support continuous improvement of labor practices by providing HR management resources. The association works directly with farmer owners to evaluate and improve on-farm labor practices:

  • Professional third-party companies conduct hundreds of employee interviews every year to verify baseline conditions and identify opportunities to implement best practices. These interviews are conducted confidentially in the absence of farm owners and managers.
  • These evaluations provide documentation of on-farm management practices and generate continuous improvement plans. 
  • 100% of farms with five non-family employees or more have been through the comprehensive auditing program. Results demonstrate a good working environment on NDA member farms.  

About Ruby Ridge

Northwest Dairy Association & Darigold Statement

May 2019 Ruby Ridge litigation outcome

We understand that the Ruby Ridge Dairy lawsuit has been settled.

We’re not surprised. Ruby Ridge Dairy has a demonstrated track record of good working conditions, as judged by regular independent labor evaluations. They continue to be in good standing with the cooperative.