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Trenton nursery holds health fair for its migrant farmers

Migrant farmers

Layman's Wholesale Nurseries in Trenton hosted a health fair for its migrant workers to keep them healthy and safe. (WRDW-TV / July 15, 2011)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / July 15, 2011

TRENTON, S.C. -- In a day and age when it's hard enough to just find a job, it's nice when the boss watches out for the workers.

That's what happened Friday at Layman's Wholesale Nurseries in Trenton.

It's the nursery's attempt to reap what they sow with a health fair for its migrant workers.

"These are all the guys who are responsible for driving tractors, propagating material, moving product across the farm, spraying and all of the farming activities," said Chief Financial Officer Barrett Layman.

The only farming activity going on Friday was sowing seeds of health.

Jillian Begin, who is getting a master's in nursing, says they see a lot of problems with skin cancers, so they were doing skin screenings at the fair.

"We're doing respiratory screening because they are around a lot chemicals and fertilizers all day long -- and dental," Begin said. We have everything here from vision all the way to optional HIV testing."

She and dozens of other students provide the screenings as part of a Georgia Health Sciences University partnership with Layman's Nurseries.
As some of the physicians instruct in English, others translate.

Paco Garcia has been at Layman's Nurseries for nine years.

"It's important for all of us, because then we know if we have some sort of illness or we need some type of treatment," Garcia said. "If we don't have something like this, not a program like this, then we'll never know. There are a lot of us that can't go to the doctor."

It's been an annual event for six years now and headed up by the Layman's family.

Layman says the turnout was low, and at first, some of the farmers were suspicious. They thought if they tested positive for a condition, they'd be fired.

"After the second and third year, people started to trust the system, but they also started to trust the American health system a little bit more," Layman said. "We referred them to some Spanish-speaking doctors. We paid for some of the services that they needed."

As for the migrant farmers, it's been a hot issue since the new immigration laws, but all of these workers have been E-verified.

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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