Keeping our farms and visitors safe on dairy farms during Covid-19
Practices you introduced on farm to manage Covid-19 under Alert Level 4 need to be continued. If you haven’t already completed it then fill out Keeping Safe on dairy farms during Covid-19. This is your Response Plan for your farm during Covid-19 and is an important conversation you need to have with your employees.
Under Alert Level 2
At Alert Level 2, all primary industries and support services can operate with appropriate measures that prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The key focus at Alert Level 2 is on maintaining appropriate physical distancing and contact tracing registers. You need to know who is on farm, why and when. And just in case someone tests positive for, or is suspected of having COVID-19 you need records of these movements onto your farm so contact tracing could be completed.
You can collect this information in a variety of ways such as your farm calendar, farm diary, an app, or by text. The information you need to record is:
- Full name
- Company or person who visited
- People they travelled with
- Contact phone number
- Covid declaration (have not had any Covid-19 symptoms or been in contract with someone who has)
- Time arrived on farm
- Time left farm
You will need to record this for people visiting your farm, including contractors and vehicles picking up product or dropping off supplies.
Information re milk collection is maintained by the dairy company, and livestock truck drivers can be traced by ASD or ideally e-ASD forms.
If anyone on farm is unwell with Covid-19 type symptoms they need to stop work and visit a doctor. Self-isolation should then take place or continue until cleared by a doctor to return to work.
For dairy farms, your dairy processing company requires you to notify them if you or any of your people have been tested positive to any notifiable disease (includes COVID-19).
Find out What Alert Level 2 means on the Government’s COVID-19 page.
Read frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and primary industries.
See MPI’s advice on Safe work practices under Alert Level 3.
We’ve been working closely with Government, Feds, FMG and Fonterra on the potential issues around Moving Day. We’re pleased to get confirmation that Moving day will proceed on June 1 under any alert level. It’s great that a solution has been secured with Government which will provide peace of mind for thousands of farmers.
For guidance on planning and completing Moving Day safely, see the Moving Day section.
Planning your progress
See our new resources to help you plan your progress in small, achievable steps:
Selling stock and autumn born calves
Under Alert Level 4, some of the usual selling options won’t be available. For more information including alternatives to consider and tips for safe transporting of animals see this page.
Getting support with your feed planning
Remote feed planning support for farmers is now available – for more information see this page.
Keeping safe on dairy farms
Dealing with COVID-19 is unlike anything we have dealt with before. And we need to change the way we do things on dairy farms whether we are two people or 10 - there must be nowhere on farm that facilitates the spread of COVID-19.
The key things to remember are 2m SEPARATION AT ALL TIMES and WASH YOUR HANDS.
Keeping everyone in the farm team informed about the new way of doing things is critical. Work through the template below with your team (outside, with a 2m gap between each person or using technology such as Skype), then put it up where everyone can see it in the farm dairy. The important thing is to have the discussion and agree the new rules.
For any questions
If you need help now, phone Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254.
As the situation changes, we will adapt our delivery to farmers, update this page and post information on DairyNZ's social media pages.
See a 10 point plan covering what to do this week here.
Healthline – 0800 358 5453
Govt helpline 0800 779 997 (8am-10pm, 7 days a week)
Mental Health 'need to talk'– call 1737
Work and Income (Financial hardship) – 0800 559 009
COVID-19 website - For handy COVID posters to print to put around the place
What you need to know about COVID-19
Everything you need to know about the virus, how it passes person to person and what to do to reduce the risk of getting infected, you can find here.
Dairy farming as an essential service
MPI Register for Safe Practice
The New Zealand Government’s epidemic management notice relating to immigration matters comes into effect on Thursday 2 April 2020.
People with a work, student, or visitor visa with an expiry date of 1 April 2020 or earlier and who are unable to leave New Zealand must apply online for a new visa. An interim visa will be issued.
People with a work, student, visitor, limited or interim visa with an expiry date of 2 April to 9 July 2020 inclusive who are in New Zealand on 2 April 2020 will have their visas extended to 25 September 2020. Confirmation of extensions will be emailed to all visa holders.
You can find your visa expiry date in your eVisa letter.
For more COVID-19-related updates from Immigration click here.
The health, safety and wellbeing of our staff and event attendees is our highest priority, and from Monday 23 March, DairyNZ will not be offering face-to-face group events in the upcoming weeks. We'll re-assess the situation in a months time and let you know if that changes.
We will be increasing other ways of keeping farmers connected and supported over the coming weeks, such as webinars, social media, and online discussion groups.
Your local consulting officer continues to be available by phone.
Find contact details for the DairyNZ consulting officer in your area here.
Your responsibility as an employer
Federated Farmers have prepared a helpful factsheet on farmer employer responsibilities, including what to do if your employee is sick or is required to self-isolate. Download factsheet.
Authorising letter for employees and contractors travelling to/from your farm
Your employees, and contractors such as sharemilkers, contract milkers and other independent contractors working for you need to carry with them a letter, authorising their travel to work at an essential service. They will also need to carry identification such as a driver's licence.
Here's a handy template to produce letters for your team. Download here.
What does self-isolation mean in practice on a farm?
The Ministry of Health (MOH) says that the purpose of self-isolation is to maintain physical distance between people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and others who may not have.
Where self-isolation is required, people - including those living and working on farms - should take steps to avoid close contact with others.
- Talk as a team about how you can achieve this purpose – what are others’ concerns? How will you maintain the necessary hygiene in this situation?
- Together, come up with that list of jobs you haven’t been able to get to yet, e.g. dealing with weeds, sorting out the power supply on that dodgy fenceline, painting the chemical shed, maybe even getting ahead of the game with cleaning out calf sheds for next season
- Check in frequently that no new concerns have arisen for your team, and see how it is working in practice.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate
Further guidelines from Ministry of Health
What does COVID-19 mean for farmers and their workers with regard to hygiene?
Farmers and their workers should follow the advice of the Ministry of Health with regard to keeping good hygiene standards, including washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes
Please visit the Ministry of Health advice here.
Currently there is no evidence animals (pets or livestock) can spread COVID-19. It is unlikely that COVID-19 can be transmitted through food, and there isn’t evidence to date of this happening.
What precautions should farmers take if staff are ill?
Like other businesses, farmers should ensure staff who are ill with COVID-like symptoms do not work. Report the situation to the Healthline or local GP. Please telephone – do not arrive in person. Self-isolation should take place or be continued.
Please see the advice here.
What if one of my farm workers is diagnosed with coronavirus?
As above, that person should seek medical help where required and be registered with the local GP and/or Healthline. They should be kept away from other farm workers.
What help is available for farmers?
The Government has launched a wage subsidy and leave payment scheme to help employers. Please see information here.
For information regarding continuity, animal welfare and labour needs farmers should talk to their key sector groups, including RSTs, Dairy NZ, Beef and Lamb NZ, their dairy company or co-op and Federated Farmers.
MPI is closely monitoring farmer welfare through its response to dry conditions around the country and the COVID-19 response. Animal welfare is also closely being monitored through the drought response. MPI is talking regularly to sector leaders about how best to meet farmer needs.
Supporting your farm team
In this time of uncertainty, it’s a good idea to check in frequently with your team – and even your neighbours and community - and understand the questions they have about the effects of COVID-19 and its potential impact on your farm.
If you have employees from overseas who may normally be planning a trip home, think through implications of travel restrictions and how you may be able to support them to keep in touch with family remotely.
How are you set up as things evolve?
Don’t forget about your networks of farming colleagues and friends - it might be useful to talk through how you might support each other in different scenarios. Keep up to date with developments and advice from the Ministry of Health.