1. Practice good personal hygiene
- Sneeze into elbow.
- Wash hands often (for at least 20 seconds).
- Stay at least 2 metres apart from people not in your family unit.
- This includes smoko! Try to have smoko outside, not in the shed or staff rooms if possible and if you must, make sure chairs are two metres apart.
- Clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces and objects (e.g. door handles, steering wheels):
- Keep a container of teat wipes in lots of different locations (e.g. in the tractor and utes) and encourage people to use them - not just to wipe their hands, but to clean their phones and other surfaces often.
- Wipe the wheel and stick shift down before and after you use them. Tractor cabs especially are little incubators! Keep the windows of all vehicles open if possible.
- Wear gloves during milking. Ensure that you remove gloves when leaving the dairy to go home or to other areas of the farm. After you remove your gloves, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water.
- If possible one vehicle per person. If not possible then gloves in the vehicle (e.g. tractor) and wipe down steering wheel and controls before leaving.
- Use technology rather than meeting in person, e.g. WhatsApp, Viber, Messenger, Facetime, Skype etc.
- If anyone feels unwell, they need to stay at home.
- Stay in your "bubble" while the country is in lockdown.
2. Look after yourself
Exercise, good nutrition, sleep, healthy thinking. See the Farmstrong website.
3. Communicate with your staff
Keep communicating regularly about what the team needs to do to keep those hygiene practices up.
Make a set of COVID-19 rules for all people on farm. Agree them. Stick to them. Print them out where staff will see them.
4. If you have migrant workers
Help them out. Temporary work visa holders whose visa expires before 9 July 2020 will be extended until 25 September 2020 but migrants do need to apply online. Check it out here.
5. Dairy farming is an essential business
Therefore you and all your staff are able to continue working whether people live on farm or off farm. The exceptions to this are if people have tested positive to COVID-19, or are required to be in self isolation.
When you and your staff travel to and from work, ensure you carry the following at all times:
- Identification (e.g. Drivers Licence).
- A letter from your employer confirming you are conducting Essential Business work on a farm. Download the letter template.
6. Review your list of jobs to be done
Does it have to be done in the next four weeks or can it be postponed? Some services will still be available. See the list of key support services.
7. Call your main suppliers/contractors
Check whether they are operating, taking online orders and delivery if you need supplies. Ensure everything is done within the COVID restrictions
8. Sort through your finances
Talk to your bank/accountant if necessary.
Govt support is available for those who can show a 30% decline in revenue, attributable to COVID-19, over a certain period. If you think you might be eligible for COVID-19 support, check here.
9. Do what rural communities do best – look after each other
- Check in on older relatives or vulnerable people over the phone, to make sure they have everything they need.
- Talking to friends, whānau and neighbours over the phone to see how they are and if they need support.
- Drop off essential supplies, like food, to those that can’t or won’t leave home. You can leave them at the door.
- Ensure your overseas staff have the internet/bandwidths necessary to keep in touch with their family.
10. Have some fun along the way
- Ask your teenagers about which social media is best for you.
- Do virtual beersies/cuppas with your mates on Facetime, WhatsApp, Messenger etc.
- Use our hashtag: #togehtheronthefarm.
- Make your own!