Mary Jo Dudley is the Director of the Cornell Farmworker Program (a collaborative effort of CALS, CHE and CCE), and a faculty member of the Department of Global Development. She has extensive research interests in immigrant workers, farmworkers, US-Latin American relations, migration from Latin America to the US, and immigrant communities in the US. She is currently involved in capacity building within the farmworker community in New York State. She is also engaged in research on farmworker contributions, farmworker perceptions about life in their new communities, farmworker empowerment, and gender and participation. Current research with farmworkers and farmers examines how to improve workplace relations. Mary Jo was selected for the 2012 White House Champions of Change Cesar Chavez Legacy award. In 2015 she was awarded the George D. Levy Engaged Teaching and Research Award at Cornell University.
Outreach and Extension Focus
Mary Jo Dudley's extension efforts center on addressing the needs of farmworkers and their families as they are articulated in the CFP’s ongoing needs assessment. She leads and facilitates on farm activities including: 1) supporting the provision of on-farm language instruction in English: 2) Emergency Planning Workshops that are designed to increase farmworkers' understanding of New York State and federal laws and assist farmworkers in assigning power of attorney and guardianship for children; 3) workshops that address chemical safety on dairy farms; and 4) workshops on how to detect and prevent the spread of cockroaches and bedbugs. While her extension activities are designed for farmworker empowerment through capacity building activities, she also has developed workshops to improve communication between farmworkers, their employers, and members of the communities in which they live. Her outreach activities include the ongoing development of a bilingual farmworker/immigrant service directory for New York State, collaborations with CCE county associations to expand their capacity to address farmworker needs, and providing student support for farmworker service providers through the CMP summer internship program.
Mary Jo’s teaching includes: capacity building workshops for farmworkers, educational forums for extension professionals, farmworker service providers, agricultural employers and other relevant stakeholders. She also teaches DSOC 494- Farmworkers: Contemporary Issues and Their Implications, a team-taught course that examines issues such as farmworker knowledge, agricultural labor demographics, labor concerns, farmworker knowledge regarding pesticides/on-farm chemicals, access to health, education and other services, and challenges faced by unauthorized immigrant workers.
Awards and Honors
George D. Levy Engaged Teaching and Research Award (2015) Cornell University
2012 White House Champions of Change Cesar Chavez Legacy Award (2012) United State White House
Faculty Mentor for Public Service Scholars (2012) Cornell Public Service Center
CAP Creal Journalism Award (2018) New York Ag Society
Agriculture Labor Advisory Group (2017) NYS Department of Labor and NYS Department of Ag and Markets
Dudley, M. J., & Sexsmith, K. J. (2015). DACA’s forgotten youth: Educational exclusions among Undocumented Farmworkers in Upstate New York. Harvard Educational Review.
Dudley, M. J., & Gabriela, V. (2011). "En Caso de una Detencion: Como Navegar el Sistema Legal". Cornell Farmworker Program, Ithaca, NY.
Presentations and Activities
Que Necesitan Saber Sobre los Anuncios de Inmigracion. Lake Ontario Winter Fruit School- Wayne County. February 2015. Cornell Cooperative Extension. Newark, NY.
Immigration Concerns Among Farmworkers in NYS. Meeting with Agriculture and Immigration Staff. March 2012. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Cornell Washington Office. Washington, DC.
Immigration Concerns Among Farmworkers in NYS. Meeting with Immigration Counsel and Agricultural Issues. March 2012. Senator Charles Schumer's Office and Cornell Washington Office. Washington, DC.
Cornell Farmworker Program's Support for Farmworkers. Breakfast Reception in Honor of Cesar Chavez Day 2012. March 2012. United States Department of Agriculture. Washington, DC.
Empowering Farmworkers to Negotiate Their Local Communities. Champions of Change- Cesar Chavez Legacy. March 2012. United States Office of the White House. Washington DC.
As COVID-19 bore down on New York state, the Cornell Farmworker Program used mobile phone technology to provide rapid guidance and clear health information in multiple languages to the state’s farmworkers. Now, new federal funding will expand the program and further integrate the initiative with Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE).
Mary Jo Dudley, MRP ’96, an expert in farmworker issues, talks about how the pandemic has underlined the importance of farmworkers, who are crucial to maintaining the country’s food supply. Farmworkers are essential workers, and are particularly...