Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for farmers

image of person washing their hands

Key points for farmers to note:

  • Only those who test positive for COVID-19 are required to isolate for seven days – household contacts no longer need to.
  • While the rules around isolation have eased, it still pays to have a plan in case you or someone on your farm gets COVID-19. There’s more info on this below, including the ‘Preparing for COVID-19 on-farm’ cross-sector checklist (PDF, 656 KB).
  • It’s still a good idea to talk to your processor about any potential delays and their policies around accepting stock in the event of a COVID-19 case on-farm – and be mindful of the pressures they’re dealing with.
  • Vaccination and control measures remain important to protect our industry, which is essential to New Zealand’s economy.

If the situation changes, we’ll update this page and post information on B+LNZ’s social media pages.

What if someone on-farm gets or is exposed to COVID-19?

Key points:

  • Plan ahead – it’s better to be prepared.
  • If someone on your farm tests positive for COVID-19, this is a public health issue first and foremost – it’s important to follow the rules.
  • We all have a role to play to keep COVID-19 out of the red meat sector’s supply chain.

Plan ahead. Talk with your staff, contractors, neighbours and friends about how you might support each other in the event someone on your farm contracts COVID-19. You should have a contingency plan in place to ensure your stock can be looked after if you or someone you know is sick.

If anyone has symptoms consistent with COVID-19 but has not been tested, or has not had test results back yet, we recommend a precautionary approach is taken and the guidelines below are followed.

In the event of a positive test:

  • Report your RAT result online – here’s how.
  • Self-isolate for the required time – see here for the latest instructions.
  • Tell the people you live with, your workplace and other close contacts at places such as your local school.
  • When someone is self-isolating it’s a good idea to have a process in place to check in with them about their physical and mental health – this should be done by phone. If any support such as food and supplies is being provided to anyone self-isolating, items must be left at the door of the house.
  • COVID-19 is a notifiable disease and you should keep records of such illnesses, including dates.
  • Contact your meat processor immediately so that appropriate control measures are put in place, and to manage the risk to others.

For COVID-19 health advice and information, contact the Healthline team (for free) on 0800 358 5453. There’s also information on the Unite Against COVID-19 website about what happens if you test positive for COVID-19.

Key links:

Protecting others on-farm is important.

  • You are able to talk to other staff members about any COVID-19 positive test result.

Protecting your farm business and animals in the event of a positive or suspected case of COVID-19 is essential. Check out the resources below, particularly the protocols document.

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Useful documents for protecting your farming business

Cross-sector checklist: preparing for COVID-19 on-farm

This document was developed by B+LNZ and other sector organisations to help you prepare. The other documents below provide further useful planning guidance.


When the unexpected happens, what happens to your farm?

This document is intended as a simple guide to allow family, friends or neighbours to come in and tend to the immediate needs of your livestock.


COVID-19 Ten Point Plan

This document gives an overview of the ten factors farmers could consider when planning their response to COVID-19.

For more detailed information about farm protocols, the following was developed for Alert Level 4 but still contains some useful guidance – see the plan below.

MOU between owner/manager and employee

This document is a letter that a farmer may wish to sign with each of your staff members so that everyone is clear on expectations. It was developed for use under Alert Level 4 lockdown but you could tailor it.

image of farmer supporting each other

Looking after yourself and your communities

We encourage farmers to reach out to their neighbours over the phone or email and discuss ways they could support each other if, for example, someone were to become sick.

If you’re feeling unwell and develop a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, please contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or contact your GP, including phoning ahead of your visit.

It's important we look after each other and follow the latest advice from the Ministry of Health.

The Rural Support Trust is also always available on 0800 787 254 – or see their website.

Your responsibility as an employer

The WorkSafe website has employment-related resources.