Protecting our farmers from COVID-19

// Biosecurity

As the country remains in level four lockdown, farmers are being reminded of the need to follow protocols around hygiene, social distancing and the use of QR codes.

covid feed

Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s CEO Sam McIvor says farming is an essential service and while it is a busy time of year on farm, it is important farmers remain in their bubbles, socially distance themselves from any visitors, wear masks and ensure visitors scan in using the farm’s QR code or sign a manual register.

Risk management includes appropriate disinfection of gear and common use areas.

“The Delta variant of COVID-19 is highly contagious and the health and wellbeing of our farming community is of the utmost importance. We simply cannot afford for this virus to get into any part of our supply chain so it is up to every person and business within that chain to play their part.”

He says meat processors are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and farmers should be patient as lockdown protocols designed to protect the workforce bed in around the country.

“There may be some constraints on processing capacity and processors are working hard under extremely difficult circumstances to ensure they can continue to process farmers’ livestock. I encourage farmers to talk directly with their processor.”

He says when dealing with stock movements, the use of paper documentation can be eliminated by registering to use eASD. After the first use, the system remembers a farmers’ personal data such as NAIT and herd numbers, multiple pickup locations and other details.  Registration is simple at and clicking on “Register” or by contacting their processor.

Mr McIvor recommends farmers also consider what might happen if they or one of their team were to become ill and contingency plan to ensure that key farming tasks, especially livestock management, can continue.

“Think about who you could call on to look after the farm and what they would need to know. It’s highly likely confirmed cases will have to enter quarantine so it’s essential you have a plan. However, prevention remains the best approach.

“Farmers are in a privileged position to be able to carry on as an essential service. Farmers are feeding New Zealanders and the world, generating critical export dollars at a time when many parts of the economy has come to a halt.

“We need to protect that privilege and look after the health of our farming families and rural communities by following the rules.”

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