COVID-19 update for farmers on Alert Level 3 and other information

// Industry

This is an update from Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) about COVID-19 and the resources available to help farmers.

meat processing

What does COVID-19 Alert Level 3 means for farmers?

The Prime Minister will make an announcement on whether, or when, New Zealand will be moving down to Alert Level 3 on Monday 20 April.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) today released information about what operating under Alert Level 3 will look like for the Primary Industry. 

Under Alert Level 3, primary sector businesses and support services, including those previously regarded as non-essential, will be able to operate as long as they can operate safely.  In practice this means there will be an extension in the services that farmers can access.

We encourage you to read the following website page that lists the types of business and support services that can operate under Alert 3: List of businesses and service suppliers that can operate under Alert Level 3.

For sheep and beef farmers the types of businesses and support services appear to include most activities farmers rely on to operate their business, including shearing, fencers, farriers, vets, and property sales managers etc. We recommend you check with your suppliers/contractors exactly what the changes mean in practice.

Retail businesses can operate, as long as they can offer contactless delivery or pre-arranged collection. This includes: agricultural supply stores; pet stores; and butcher shops etc.

Stock sales and wool auctions are permitted, but the public must not attend. They should be run online where possible.

Find MPI's safe work practices for operating in Alert Level 3 here.

Find MPI’s FAQs about operating in Alert Level 3 here.

View MPI’s dedicated COVID-19 website here.

B+LNZ reminds farmers to remain vigilant. There will likely be more people movement under Alert Level 3, so it is even more important that farmers have good health and safety procedures in place on their farm.

We will continue to liaise with government to understand how Alert Level 3’s restrictions and flexibilities will effect farmers, with a focus on processing capacity and feed issues.  We will keep farmers updated.

Processing capacity and feed budgeting

B+LNZ and the Meat Industry Association (MIA) sent a joint email to all farmers last week about the situation and will keep farmers updated regularly.   

Gypsy Day

Gypsy Day is coming up shortly and B+LNZ is aware that many sheep and beef farmers winter graze cows or raise heifers. It is important that proper processes are followed. 

DairyNZ and Federated Farmers are working with government on protocols that we will share with sheep and beef farmers. 

Other resources

  • NEW: B+LNZ has developed a Farm Operating Manual which prompts farmers to write down basic farm management information. This would allow friends or neighbours to carry out essential farm tasks if the person running the farm were to become incapacitated.
  • View DairyNZ’s advice on what to do if you or a staff member were to get sick.
  • View B+LNZ’s overview of the ten factors farmers could consider when planning their response to the COVID-19 crisis: B+LNZ’s COVID-19 Ten point plan
  • We also recommend that you check out the Federated Farmers and DairyNZ COVID pages for useful information: Federated Farmers COVID-19 webpage and DairyNZ COVID-19 webpage
  • View B+LNZ and Federated Farmers COVID-19 MOU template between farm owner/manager and employee.