I read with great interest your front-page article in the Sunday, October 6 Register ("Farmworkers, the backbone of Napa Valley's economy, face health challenges"). I am writing to express my hope and trust that we will soon see another article, of equal prominence, detailing the positive things that have been happening for many years in Napa Valley to promote the health and wellness of our farmworkers and their families.

The Ag Health Benefits Alliance, formerly known as the California Grower Foundation, was founded in 1972 by a group of forward-thinking agricultural employers with the sole mission of providing health and retirement benefits to agricultural workers and their families.

The current membership of 90 employers provides high-quality health insurance to approximately 1,500 employees and 600 of their dependents, allowing them to seek services from the provider of their choosing.

With the support of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers, the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation provides over 500 hours of professional development, health and well being, mentoring and family programs each year. The Foundation routinely reaches 3,000 vineyard workers and their families annually.

The contributions of the Napa Valley Vintners Association to the health and well being of the valley's agricultural community are legendary, and likely without equal anywhere.

The Napa County Agricultural Commissioner and his staff put in countless hours educating both growers and farmworkers regarding the safe use of agricultural chemicals, and as a county, our safety record is exemplary.

Dr. Marco Bodor and his research institute have developed treatments specifically to address the kinds of injuries discussed in your article, and are actively recruiting farmworkers to treat.

I'm quite sure that this is not a complete list, and I hope that Ms. Teague or another of your reporters will find the time and interest to investigate this side of farmworker health and wellness, and that we soon see this story on the front page of the Sunday paper.

Michael Wolf


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