Howard R. Rosenberg

Print publications

Battling heat stress

ANR & Cooperative Extension

UCB College of Natural Resources

The big picture

Cooperative Extension Specialist Emeritus
Agricultural Labor Management & Policy
Dept. of Agricultural and Res. Economics

320 Giannini Hall
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-3310

Howard Rosenberg began his career as a UC Cooperative Extension Specialist in 1981 and served concurrently for ten years as director of the statewide DANR Agricultural Personnel Management Program.  His research and extension work has covered a wide range of human resource management topics and policy issues in agriculture, most recently focusing on employment laws and regulations, labor market conditions, supervisory development, and workplace safety. While retired from his full-time position in March 2011, he remains active on selected projects and continues to welcome requests from
extension clientele as well as colleagues and students.

In collaboration with extension educators from several western states, Howard wrote Ag Help Wanted: Guidelines for Managing Agricultural Labor, an award-winning book for current and prospective managers of human resources in farm businesses. He was also lead author of two editions of Labor Management Laws in California Agriculture and survey studies about seasonal workers, farm labor contractors, and employment practices on California farms.  His print and video explanations of the 1986 immigration reform and control act were used by farm employers, workers, and extension educators throughout the nation, and he now closely monitors legislation and administrative policies that affect hiring requirements, work visa programs, and the legal status of farm workers currently unauthorized for employment.  

Howard turned cyberpunk in 1994 with his creation of the WPS-Forum, a discussion network and reference archive on the federal Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides.  He went on to build and maintain the APMP website, an extensive array of tools and references that has long served farm managers, researchers, and policy makers but is now pending reconstruction after a malicious hack.   

An inquiry from a personal hydration systems maker several years ago led Howard into an unlikely line of study on heat stress in agricultural jobs.  Much of his work since then has applied principles from exercise physiology to the reduction of heat-related risks for farm workers and managers, after 2006 within the context of new state requirements for employers to take specific measures protecting outdoor workers from heat illness.  With industry partners and USDA support, Howard launched a program in 2008 that combines a supervisory short course and mid-management seminar to develop first-line supervision in participating companies, and it has been adapted to serve growers and labor contracting firms in various agricultural production sectors.


Before joining Cooperative Extension, Dr. Rosenberg taught in the management and human resources fields at the UC Haas School of Business, California State University, and Golden Gate University.  He previously worked in banking, insurance, medical research, and public housing, has consulted to many government agencies and private firms, and has served as an expert witness in litigation proceedings.

Howard earned his Ph.D. in Business Administration at the University of California, Berkeley, and both his B.S. and M.S. in engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.  He is a member of the Academy of Management, Agricultural & Applied Economics Association, California Association of Farm Advisors and Specialists, Labor and Employment Relations Association, and Western Farm Management Extension Committee.

Having grown up in the garden state of New Jersey before moving west and getting acquainted with real agriculture, Howard now resides in Berkeley with his wife, dog, and stuff left by two adult daughters.  He splits lanes in city traffic on a 1999 Honda Nighthawk CB750 and has reached an advanced beginner stage on middle-age missions to build muscle mass, workable fluency en Español and piano, and patience.  Despite his family's pleas to turn the job over to someone who will kill the plants more slowly, he cultivates, prunes and/or harvests a micro orchard producing apples, lemons, plums, and avocados in a good year, several ornamentals and random shrubs, a fence full of ivy, and maybe a thousand square feet of crabgrass.


Selected publications: 

"Labor Management," Chapter 8 in L. Tourte & B. Faber, Small Farm Handbook, 2nd edition.  Oakland: University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources Publication Number: 3526, 2011.

"Preventing Heat-Related Illness among Agricultural Workers," (with L. Jackson), Journal of Agromedicine, 15:3 (July 2010), pp. 200–215, 2010.

"Controlling heat stress risks," Practical Winery & Vineyard, July-August 2009.

“Battling Heat Stress in the 2008 Legal Context,” AgSafe Newsletter - Health and Safety in Agriculture, v.11 (Summer 2008), pp. 1-5.  Variations released by UC Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources, Governmental and External Relations, and in Vine Lines, UC Cooperative Extension Fresno County, pp. 1-10, August 2008.

"Heat 2007: Dealing with Old Risks and New Law,
" AgSafe Newsletter - Health and Safety in Agriculture, V.6 (Summer 2007), pp. 1,7-9.

"Heat can harm you, Reducing heat build-up, Sweating releases heat, Responding to symptoms / El calor puede hacerle daño, Reduzca la acumulacin de calor, Sudar saca el calor del cuerpo, Qué hacer cuando hay sîntomas" (with Danielle Rau, Myriam Grajales-Hall, and Imelda Muzio). Bilingual field education card, 4 panels each language.  Published and distributed by California Farm Bureau Federation, UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Western Center for Risk Management Education, June 2006.

"Battle Heat Stress in Agricultural Work" and “Update on Requirements to Help Prevent Heat Illness,"AgSafe Newsletter - Health and Safety in Agriculture, Summer and Fall 2005.

"Helping Field Workers Battle Heat Stress," AgSafe Newsletter - Health and Safety in Agriculture, Fall 2004, pp. 4-5.

"Many Fewer Steps for Pickers -- A Leap for Harvestkind? - Emerging Change in Strawberry Harvest Technology," Choices,  1st Quarter 2004, pp. 5-11.

"Labor Management in Agriculture: A Critical Management Function," (with Jeffrey E. Tranel, John P. Hewlett, and Randy R. Weigel), Western Economics Forum, V. II, No. 2 (Dec. 2003), pp. 8-13.   

"Machine aids in strawberry harvest: An early take on new technology in strawberry harvesting," California Farmer, August 2003, pp. M1, 5, 9.

Ag Help Wanted: Guidelines for Managing Agricultural Labor (with R. Carkner, J.P. Hewlett, L. Owen, T. Teegerstrom, J.E. Tranel, and R.R. Weigel). Western Farm Management Extension Committee, October 2002, 242 pp. 

"Public Choices Affecting Human Resource Management,"  in J.L. Outlaw and E.G. Smith, The 2002 Farm Bill: Policy Options and Consequences, Publication 2001-01. Oak Brook, IL: Farm Foundation, September 2001, pp. 221-226.

"Recognizing and Managing Risks In Ag Labor Management," Labor Management Decisions, UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Vol. 8, No. 1 (Winter-Spring 1999), pp. 1-3, 6-7, 12, 14.

Who Works on California Farms? Demographic and Employment Findings from the National Agricultural Workers Survey (with A. Steirman, S.M. Gabbard S.M., and R. Mines). Oakland: University of California,  Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Publication 21583, and U.S. Department of Labor NAWS Report No. 7, 1998.

"Looking Fresh at the ALRA," Labor Management Decisions, UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Vol. 6, No. 2 (Fall 1997), pp. 1-3, 10-13. 

"Groping for Handles on the Elephant: Where the Farm Jobs Are and How Much They Pay in California." Labor Management Decisions, UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Vol. 6, No. 1 (Winter-Spring 1997), pp. 9-12.

"What Rules for California Pesticide Users?" Labor Management Decisions, UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Vol. 5, No. 1 (Fall 1996), pp. 1-7.

Labor Management Laws in California Agriculture, 2nd Edition (with Valerie J. Horwitz and Daniel L. Egan). Oakland: University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 1995. Publication 21404, 180p.

"More than an IRCA Offshoot: Growth of Labor Contracting in California Agriculture."  Berkeley, Univ. of CA, Dept. of Agr. & Resource Econ., 1993. 23p. (CUDARE. Working Paper, 693). Subsequent version published as "IRCA and Labor Contracting in California." In Immigration Reform and U.S. Agriculture. Oakland: University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 1995. Publication 3358, pp. 269-293.

Labor Management on California Farms (with Jeffrey M. Perloff, and Vijaykumar S. Pradhan). Report to California Employment Development Department, Sacramento, January 1994. Content also available as "Hiring and Managing Labor for Farms in California." Berkeley, Univ. of CA, Dept. of Agr. & Resource Econ., 1994. 100p. (DARE Working Paper No. 730, October 1994).

"Snapshots in a Farm Labor Tradition," Labor Management Decisions, UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Vol. 3, No. 1 (Winter-Spring 1993), pp. 1-7.  Spanish translation by Myriam Grajales-Hall published during 1993-94 as "La Odisea de los Inmigrantes Mexicanos en las Granjas Estadounidenses: Resena Historica de la Tradicion Laboral Agricola," Parts 1 and 2, in La Opinion, Miniondas, La Presa San Diego, La Oferta Review, California Weekly, El Sol Latino, El Continental, Mundo Hispano, El Sol, Alianza News, Contacto, El Nuevo Tiempo, Vida Nueva, LatinoAmericana, Hispanos Unidos.

"High Tech Meets High Touch: Electronic Creation of Individual Production Records in the Field" (with Kai Francisco). Coastal Grower, Winter 1994, 14-19. Also presented to the 5th International Conference on Computers in Agriculture, Orlando, February 1994. 5p.

"Agricultural Labor Markets, Management, and Technology for the Future." Hearings and Workshops Before the Commission on Agricultural Workers 1989-93 To Accompany the Report of the Commission. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1993, pp. 456-465.